Us Says Yemen Group One Of Al Qaeda Branches

01.21.10 | FL News Team

U.S. officials say while Yemen has made gains in battling al-Qaeda, the terrorist group has some two dozen affiliates in various areas around the globe. Admiral Eric Olson, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, told a House Armed Services subcommittee yesterday that groups have sprung up in Iraq, the Arabian peninsula, the Horn of Africa and southeast Asia, among other places. Olson said al-Qaeda forces are being bolstered by extremists who had been detained and released.

 Earlier yesterday, FBI chief Robert Mueller stressed the terrorist threat now includes some Americans. A report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee indicated it's believed some Americans, including those who converted to Islam in prisons, trained in al-Qaeda camps in Yemen and may pose a threat to the U.S. The report focused on a group of up to 36 former U.S. criminals who converted to Islam in prison and arrived in Yemen in the past year.

 Meanwhile, Yemen says it will stop issuing tourist visas on arrival to foreigners in an effort to prevent militants from entering the country. A government spokesman says it's an effort to step up its war on al-Qaeda and that the move will affect visitors from Western countries, including the U.S. A recent report said some U.S. citizens suspected of training in al Qaeda camps in Yemen may pose a serious threat to their home country.