Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- A prominent leader in the ruling General People’s Congress Party in Yemen stated that the presence of Al-Qaeda in his country is not as it is depicted in the media. Tariq al-Shami, Head of the Information Office of the Congress Party, admitted that there is a presence of “some Yemeni [al-Qaeda] elements, which came from outside the country” but the Yemeni Government “is following those elements and disabling them”.
Al-Shami told Asharq al-Awsat: “During the past years, the security bodies have carried out several operations against (Al-Qaeda) elements but the problem in confronting them is that those belonging to the organization [al-Qaeda] do not have specific known locations, they move from one area to another. The state has taken all legal measures available to follow up on all these elements and demanded that they surrender to the authorities”. He added that “the community leaders in the areas which they are located were also asked to hand them over, and not allow them to exist alongside civilians. When necessary, pre-emptive strikes are launched to prevent these elements from carrying out their terrorist operations. The State initiates these preventive strikes against these elements, wherever they may be.”
The Yemeni politician denied reports about a relationship between the Yemeni authorities and Al-Qaeda elements, saying that “an attempt to suggest there is such a relationship is both illogical and false”. He pointed out that “the confrontation taking place between the state’s military and security organs, and even the local authorities, with these terrorist elements” is due to the fact that “Yemen is harmed by any terrorist action that damages the country’s reputation, security, and stability, and therefore impedes upon the development process and limits investments”.