13 Jan 2010

Yemen says leader of al Qaeda cell killed

8:02 pm on 13 January 2010

Yemen says its security forces have killed the leader of an al Qaeda cell in in the country.

Yemen's state news agency quotes the governor of Yemen's Shabwa province as identifying the militant as Abdullah al-Mehdar.

The agency says his home was surrounded by security forces and he died following an exchange of fire, Reuters reports.

The Interior Ministry says at least 15 Yemeni Shi'ite rebels have been killed in clashes with tribesmen loyal to the central government and in operations by security forces, as violence surges in north Yemen.

In a statement on its website, the ministry says what it describes as destructive Houthi elements have died in the past two days.