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34 suspected Al-Qaeda members killed by Yemeni army

December 24, 2009

Thirty-four suspected Al-Qaeda members have been killed in a dawn air raid by the Yemeni army on an area used by the militant group on Thursday.

“The raid was carried out as dozens of members of Al-Qaeda were meeting in Wadi Rafadh,” a remote mountainous region some 650 kilometres east of the Yemeni capital, a security source said.

The head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, Nasser al-Whaychi, was present at the meeting, the source said, adding that “members of the group including Saad al-Fathani and Mohammad Ahmed Saleh al-Oumir were among those killed.”

The source was unable to say what had happened to Whaychi, but he indicated that Oumir was the person who had recently made a public appearance at a meeting in Abyane of which Al-Jazeera television showed a video.

“Saudis and Iranians at the Wadi Rafadh meeting were also among the dead,” said the source, without going into detail.

The operation came a week after a first army raid that killed 30 Al-Qaeda activists in the southeastern Abyane province and which led to the arrest of more than 30 others.

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