SANAA (AFP) – Al-Qaeda said it is holding a senior security official captured in north Yemen last month, and gave the government 48 hours to release two militants, the US-based SITE monitoring group reported Monday.
“If the apostate government cares for its spies, there will be no way to know the fate of this spy except by releasing the two brothers, Hussain al-Tais and Mashhour al-Ahdal, within 48 hours of issuing this statement,” SITE reported Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as saying.
The group said it is holding Saada province’s deputy director of political security Colonel Ali Mohammed Saleh al-Hussam, who was kidnapped near his home on August 26.
“According to the confessions of the captive” Hussam, the two Al-Qaeda militants were captured by northern Shiite rebels who handed them over to Sadaa’s political security director, AQAP said.
The authenticity of the statement could not immediately be verified.
In another statement posted on jihadist forums on Sunday, SITE said Al-Qaeda denied that the government had arrested several of its members in the southern city of Loder, saying that only one had been captured.
“Every day the Yemeni governmentâ€™s media outlets issue false news… proclaiming new made up victories to cover their shame (and) weaknesses… after it became clear to everyone that the blows of the mujahedeen (holy fighters) all over the country became very successful,” said AQAP.
The regime’s claims aim to make “themselves look better in the sight of their masters, the American crusaders,” it said.
After fierce fighting between troops and suspected Al-Qaeda militants, the government said its security services had arrested 14 alleged Al-Qaeda members in Loder, including a leader named as Salah al-Dabani.
“The truth is that they captured one of the brothers, namely, brother Jaabir al-Fifi… who was on a jihadi mission,” Al-Qaeda said.
At least 33 were killed in the Loder clashes — 19 militants, 11 soldiers and three civilians — according to an AFP tally based on official and medical sources.
Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, is battling an Al-Qaeda resurgence, a sporadic Shiite rebellion in the north and growing separatism in the south.