Seven killed as Yemen police clash with al-Qaeda suspects

Other News Materials 11 August 2008 23:14 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Two police officers and five suspected al-Qaeda members were killed and six others including four policemen injured in a clash in the south-eastern Yemeni province of Hadhramout on Monday, a governor said.

The shootout erupted as police forces raided a house sheltering the suspects in the town of Tarim, some 900 kilometres south east of the capital Sana'a.

Salem al-Khanbashi, the governor of Hadhramout, told the official Saba news agency that one of the dead officers was a deputy superintendent of Tarim police.

He said security forces seized a cache of weapons and explosives in the house as well as documents and blueprints for terror plots.

The governor said police arrested two suspects in the raid.

Local sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the armed suspects opened fire and hurled hand grenades at the advancing police force, killing two officers.

Security forces surrounding the house returned fire killing one suspect and injuring five others, the sources said. Four of the five injured suspects died later of their wounds, they said.

Tarim is close to Sayoun city, where a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb outside a police complex killing a policeman and wounded 18 on July 25.

Last week, officials said police had launched a massive manhunt after 12 suspected al-Qaeda members, including a Saudi national, linked to the car bomb attack.

An al-Qaeda wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for the killing of five al-Qaeda members by police forces in Yemen.

Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for three recent car bomb attacks in Yemen, including the July 2007 attack on a tourist convoy in the central province of Marib that killed eight Spanish tourists.

In September 2006, two al-Qaeda suicide attackers blew up an explosives-laden pickup in the Safer oil refinery in the north- central province of Marib. A simultaneous bombing hit an oil exporting port in Hadhramout, killing a security guard and two suicide attackers.

Hadhramout was the scene of a shooting attack on a convoy of Belgian tourists that left two Belgian women and two Yemeni drivers dead on January 18. Al-Qaeda also claimed responsibility for the attack.