SANAA, (AFP) — A self-confessed militant admitted on Saturday to carrying out deadly attacks on military targets and oil facilities in Yemen, as four other suspected Al-Qaeda members went on trial for planning attacks.
Saleh al-Shaoush was arrested on January 30 as he prepared to carry out a suicide bombing in the southeastern port of Mukalla. He had been stopped on his motorbike and found to be wearing an explosives belt and carrying two bombs.
Shaoush admitted in court taking part in seven deadly attacks in Hadramawt and Marib provinces.
“The acts attributed to me are correct,” he said. “I prepared and carried out these operations voluntarily and without duress.”
The court in Sanaa set Monday as a date for final deliberations in the case of Shaoush, who faces the death penalty if convicted.
In a separate hearing, the same court opened proceedings against four Al-Qaeda suspects for allegedly planning attacks on national and foreign targets in Yemen.
According to the charge sheet, they are accused of attacking police and military installations, murdering security officials and resisting the armed forces.
The principal suspect, Yahia Dahan, was said to be ill and did not appear in court. Another defendant, Faraj Hadi, said in court that Dahan had been tortured.
In another development, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility on Saturday for the September ambush of a bus carrying Yemeni intelligence agents, saying it killed 14 people.
“A mujahedeen brigade in Sanaa attacked a bus of the political police, which resulted in the death of 14 intelligence officers belonging to the anti-terrorist unit,” an AQAP statement published on Islamist websites said of the September 25 incident.
“These officers had just completed an anti-terrorism course held under the supervision of American officers,” it added.
On the day of the incident, officials said 10 intelligence agents were wounded, two of them seriously, when their bus was ambushed.
The source said two unidentified gunmen attacked the bus at about 6:00 am (0300 GMT) before fleeing, adding they were probably AQAP militants.
Four suspects thought to have been involved in the attack were arrested.
The US-based SITE monitoring service also reported that AQAP claimed it had assassinated a colonel named Abdul al-Karim al-Baan in the southern Lahij province, whom it described as “the head of investigations.”
AQAP also said it had shot an intelligence officer named Al-Hashidi in the province, without saying whether or not he died, and said it was responsible for an attack on a general security building in Lahij, and another on an intelligence building there, SITE said.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, is battling an Al-Qaeda resurgence, a sporadic Shiite rebellion in the north and a growing separatist movement in the south.