Sanaa, Nov. 4 (Reuters): Six alleged al Qaida members, including a key suspect being hunted by Yemen on suspicion of links to Osama bin Laden, were killed when their car exploded, a source close to Yemen’s government said today.
The source said it was not yet clear what caused yesterday’s car explosion in the Marib oil-producing province, 170 km east of Sanaa. But he said the car appeared to have been carrying explosives. “All six were killed in the explosion. The cause is not yet known,” the source said.
There has been no official comment so far on the blast and the source said security forces were still investigating.
He said the six men in the car were Yemenis suspected of links to bin Laden’s al Qaida, blamed by Washington for last year’s September 11 attacks on the US.
The source said one of the men was Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, also known as Abu Ali, one of two key suspects that local security forces have been trying to hunt down for questioning since the hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington.
Abu Ali is suspected of involvement in the 2000 suicide bombing of the US destroyer Cole in Yemen’s Aden harbour that killed 17 American sailors.
Yemen is keen to shake off its reputation as a haven for Muslim militants and says it is holding 85 people arrested in a manhunt for al Qaida members.
Officials have said authorities were questioning some tribal leaders in the area near the airport in the capital.