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Al Qaeda in Yemen taking advantage of 'Arab Spring' uprisings to expand operations

Washington , Thu, 15 Sep 2011 ANI

Washington, Sept 15 (ANI): As winds of revolt are blowing across the Arab World, Yemen based Al-Qaeda network is taking advantage of the political instability to further expand its operations in the country, a senior Pentagon official has claimed.


According to a US defense official, the terror group's most active and lethal terror network called Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has found a way to pursue both its regional goals of establishing an Islamic state along with its external operations.


"AQAP is certainly among our biggest concerns from a counter terrorism perspective," the Fox News quoted Matt Olsen, the new head of the National Counterterrorism Center, as saying.


"It (AQAP) has shown itself to be to have both the intent and capability of carrying out attacks against the United States in the homeland," Olsen added.


Olsen told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, has also been the driver of the group's strong propaganda targeting US citizens and western European.


According to the report, Olsen warned senators that while the Al-Qaeda core is weakening, the affiliates, including Yemen, might fill the vacuum.


"Whether Yemen is a safe haven, we are very concerned about the ability of the Yemeni government at this point to sustain any strong counterterrorism efforts, given the governance challenges that it faces," Olsen said.


"So, AQAP has had the opportunity to recruit inside Yemen and to plan and plot inside Yemen in a way that, you know, so we've put extreme pressure on Al-Qaeda senior leadership. It's been more difficult for us to put that same pressure on AQAP leaders in Yemen," he added. (ANI)


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