Thousands of Yemenis flee southern village as government forces shell al-Qaida hide-outs

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thousands of Yemenis flee battle with al-Qaida

SAN’A, Yemen — Yemeni police say thousands of people have fled a southern village where security forces are laying siege to al-Qaida militants who took over houses there.

The police chief for the surrounding district, Abdullah Baouda, says government forces have moved into the village of Hawta with tanks and armored vehicles and 90 percent of its residents have fled. One fleeing family said Monday that forces have shelled the village indiscriminately for the past two days.

The village is in Yemen’s mountainous Shabwa province, one the areas where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has taken root over the past year and a half.

Yemen’s al-Qaida offshoot has been linked to the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Four al-Qaida suspects, including a Yemeni-German teenager, have been brought to trial in Yemen to face accusations they plotted attacks on tourists, international institutions and security forces.

A court official says the 16-year-old dual national, Rami Hans Harman, told the court Monday that authorities extracted a false confession from him while he was blindfolded and that he was denying the charges.

The four defendants also stand accused of setting up training camps and forming terrorist cells in Yemen’s southern Marib province.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press.

Meanwhile, security forces attacked an al-Qaida hide-out in the south, killing three people.

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