The U.S. government confirmed on Monday that at least 12 U.S. citizens have been detained in Yemen, but refused to specify whether they are linked to al-Qaida, Xinhua reported.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the Obama administration is working with the Yemeni government to "find out more about the individuals," adding that the two sides have "great cooperation."
"We are doing our best to help Yemen reduce the threat posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It's a threat to Yemen and the United States," said the spokesman.
Yemeni authorities reportedly have arrested some 30 foreigners in recent operations against the AQAP, which is on Washington's list of foreign terrorist groups.
The Yemen-based AQAP was accused by the United States for masterminding numerous terrorist acts against Saudi, South Korean, Yemeni and U.S. targets since its inception in January 2009, including the failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009.