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10 suspected al-Qaeda militants arrested in eastern Yemen

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Yemen security forces have arrested 10 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists
  • During the raid, two of the suspects escaped and two were wounded.
  • Two security force personnel were killed
  • Death sentences upheld for 4 convicted al-Qaeda terrorists, sentences reduced for 7 others
  • Yemen
  • Al Qaeda

(CNN) -- Yemen security services arrested 10 al Qaeda terrorists Sunday in Hadramout province, east Yemen, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The state-run news agency, Saba, reported that the security services raided a house where four suspected members of an al Qaeda cell were hiding in Fuh, located west of Mukalla in Hadramout.

Security forces arrested two who were wounded in the clash, while two others escaped.

According to Saba, the terrorist cell was planning to target security bodies and vital installations in Hadramout. The security personnel found an explosive belt ready for use, grenades, a laptop, a number of SIM cards, videotapes and scraps of paper which the terrorist elements did not manage to burn.

The suspects included a Saudi national and they were found in a house belonging to an al Qaeda member. The suspected terrorists refused to surrender and started shooting and throwing grenades at the security forces who were besieging the house, the news agency. Two security personnel were killed.

The forces also arrested eight suspected terrorists in a separate operation.

Also Sunday, the state security court of appeals in Yemen upheld death sentences against four terrorists of a 16-member al Qaeda cell convicted of forming an armed gang to target vital installations and foreign tourists.

But the court reduced the death sentence of two of the terrorists to 12 years in prison, and reduced the sentences of five terrorists from 15 years to eight years in jail. The statuses of the sentences for the remaining members was unclear.

The Tarim terrorist cell included 11 Yemeni, four Syrians and a Saudi. The terrorists were convicted in July 2009.

The group was charged with carrying out an attack on Belgian tourists in the Dawan district of Hadramout province on January 18, 2008. Two Belgian tourists and a Yemeni were killed.

The group also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a military camp in Sayoun on July 25, 2008, in which one soldier and the bomber were killed and 17 others were wounded.

The cell was charged with carrying out a mortar attack in 2008 that targeted the U.S. embassy in Sana'a but missed and hit an adjacent school, injuring three police officers and four girls. And the group was implicated in several terrorist operations in Yemen including failed attacks on a residential complex that housed foreigners, and attacks on oil refineries in Aden, Sana'a and in al-Khasa'a district in 2008.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom contributed to this report.