Al-Qaeda making major gains amid political unrest in Yemen: FM Dr Abu Bakr al-Qirbi

Sanaa, Apr 6: Yemen's Foreign Minister Dr Abu Bakr al-Qirbi has warned that al-Qaeda is taking advantage of the political unrest in country to plot new terror attacks.

The Telegraph quoted al-Qirbi as saying that the al-Qaeda backed rebel forces have taken control of a major town near the vital southern port of Aden, and added that the terrorist outfit has started expanding its wider operations after the clashes destabilised the government.

As unrest has worsened over recent weeks, the government has lost control of part of all of four provinces, including two, Shabwa and Abiyan, where AQAP has a strong presence.

Dr al-Qirbi confirmed that the provincial town of Abiyan, Jaar, has apparently fallen to the al-Qaeda-linked forces.

"There has been a government effort to dislodge them but I have no information on whether it was successful. Obviously the extremists are taking advantage of the political unrest here," he said.

"Al-Qaeda is trying to strengthen its position. This is what we are trying to prevent. But the existing political situation and disruption between the government and the opposition pretty much is an opportunity for AQAP," Dr al-Qirbi added.

His warning came as American intelligence agencies expressed fears that the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was planning a new terrorist assault on the West.

Amid huge protests and political unrest in the country, Britain has demanded Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

"I am appalled by the reports of further deaths and casualties in Yemen on 4th and 5th April. President Saleh should make clear he is ready to engage now in an inclusive process of political transition," Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said.

Copyright Asian News International/