SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen has tightened security at oil facilities and government buildings, and two suspected al Qaeda members were killed in clash with security forces in western Yemen, a Yemeni official told Reuters on Sunday.
Yemen’s government is struggling to stabilize the country where al Qaeda is trying to strengthen its influence.
The security official told Reuters that security measures were tightened around major “government, economic, oil and Western facilities” as of Saturday.
The measures included “the replacement of some normal central security forces with special units … well qualified and trained by Arab military experts,” he said.
Yemen, the poorest Arab country, has already carried out air strikes, with U.S. assistance, to target al Qaeda leaders.
“The two men were inside a car and refused to stop at a check point. An exchange of fire took place between them and security forces,” the official said, adding the clash took place after midnight on Saturday.
“The two suspects were killed and two soldiers were injured, one of them seriously.”
The two killed were being chased by the government after authorities distributed information about them to checkpoints, the official said.
Western countries fear that al Qaeda’s resurgent regional wing is exploiting instability in Yemen to launch attacks in the region and beyond.