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Suspected al Qaeda financier arrested in Yemen

By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
  • The man was "wanted for financing al Qaeda terrorist acts in Yemen," government says
  • He was captured Friday at Sana'a International Airport
  • The Yemeni government is stepping up its fight against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
  • Yemen
  • Al Qaeda
  • Terrorism

(CNN) -- A man accused of financing al Qaeda in Yemen has been arrested in the capital Sana'a, Yemen's Ministry of Interior announced Saturday.

In a statement posted on Yemen's official news agency SABA, the Ministry of Interior said the suspect, Saleh al-Raimi, a Yemeni expatriate living in Saudi Arabia, was captured Friday at Sana'a International Airport.

The Ministry of Interior said al-Raimi was "wanted for financing al Qaeda terrorist acts in Yemen."

Al Qaeda is a growing problem in the Arabian Peninsula country. While most security experts and Yemeni government officials estimate the group's numbers in Yemen to be between 200 to 300 members, the government has stepped up its fight against it.

On Friday, the Interior Ministry offered a reward of 20 million Yemeni Riyal (about U.S. $100,000) for information leading to the capture of eight suspected members of al Qaeda in Yemen.

SABA identified the eight, urging the public to "cooperate with the authorities," and warned against sheltering any of them.

Also Friday, a wanted al Qaeda in Yemen member handed himself in to Saudi Arabian authorities, Saudi Arabia's official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a security spokesman at the country's Ministry of Interior. The statement added that the man, Jaber bin Jibran bin Ali al-Afifi, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, had rejoined al Qaeda in Yemen after he had returned from captivity.

In the past week, al Qaeda in Yemen (also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) is suspected of being behind three separate attacks that have killed at least two Yemeni security officials, according to a government official.

Last week also saw the release of an audio recording purported to be from Qassim al-Rimi (also known as Abu Hurira al-Sanaei), the leader al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, that posted on radical militant websites. The speaker promised that Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, would be punished "for his crimes" and announced that a new army would rid the country of "crusaders and apostates."

CNN could not verify the authenticity of the recording.

And late Friday, Australia raised its travel warning level for Yemen to its highest level, advising its citizens "not to travel to Yemen at this time because of the very high threat of terrorist attack and volatile security situation."

Since its inception in January 2009, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks against Saudi Arabian, Korean, Yemeni and U.S. targets.