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Yemeni Government Says Al-Qaida Plot Was Foiled

A Yemeni soldier stands guard Tuesday near Sanaa International Airport.
Mohammed Huwais
AFP/Getty Images
A Yemeni soldier stands guard Tuesday near Sanaa International Airport.

Yemen is still the focus of concern as the U.S., its allies and countries across the Middle East and North Africa remain on alert for possible terrorist attacks.

But according to the BBC, Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi says an al-Qaida plot there has been disrupted. The news network reports that Badi said the plot "involved blowing up oil pipelines and taking control of certain cities — including two ports in the south, one of which accounts for the bulk of Yemen's oil exports and is where a number of foreign workers are employed."

From 'Morning Edition': Journalist Iona Craig, in Yemen, talks with NPR's Renee Montagne

The BBC is also reporting it has been told by "sources" that "the U.S. is preparing special operations forces for possible strike operations against al-Qaida in Yemen." That report has not been confirmed by U.S. officials or matched by other news outlets.

On Morning Edition, Times of London correspondent Iona Craig (who is in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa), told NPR's Renee Montagne that "the feeling I've always gotten from the Americans is that they would never want to put those troops on the ground" in Yemen in part because "there's already an anti-American sentiment" there. Many Yemenis object to the drone strikes that have killed some civilians along with suspected al-Qaida terrorists.

We reported Tuesday on the State Department's warning to any Americans in Yemen that they should leave immediately. As we said, "the ominous advisory follows the 'temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Middle East and Africa.' " It also came after a more general, worldwide "travel alert" that the State Department issued last Friday.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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