Yemen goes on alert over fears of militant attacks

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News,World,Yemen,Middle East

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen put its security forces on high alert Monday over fears of possible terrorist attacks in the capital, the Interior Ministry said.

The measures came after a nearly three-week government offensive to root out suspected al-Qaida militants from southern cities and towns where they have a strong presence.

In a statement, the ministry said authorities had received tips of al-Qaida plots in which militants were to attack government agencies while disguised in military uniform. It said it instructed checkpoints to inspect identification cards of military personal.

Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said last week that his country is in "open war" with the group and that it would expand its operations in the south from areas where it has been making gains. Militants have responded with attacks on security forces.

The U.S. considers Yemen's local al-Qaida branch, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the terror group's most dangerous offshoot worldwide. It is blamed for a number of unsuccessful bomb plots aimed at Americans, including an attempt to bring down a U.S.-bound airliner with explosives hidden in the bomber's underwear and a second plot to send mail bombs hidden in the toner cartridges on planes headed to the U.S.

The U.S. embassy in Sanaa shut down its premises this month as a precaution against possible retaliatory attacks.

Also Monday, the Defense Ministry announced death of Galbeeb al-Yamani, a militant it described as an al-Qaida leader in the central province of Baida, in clashes with armed forces. It did not provide any further details.

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