SANAA – Government forces killed two al-Qaeda militants thought to be behind threats to the United States in clashes in Yemen, a security official said on Monday.
One militant was wounded and the fighting was still going on, the official said.
“These elements are believed to be behind the threats directed to the US embassy,” he said.
The United States and Britain kept their embassies in Yemen closed for a second day on Monday over concerns about possible militant attacks after the failed bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen branch of Osama bin Laden’s network, has claimed responsibility for the attempt by Nigerian suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to bomb the US plane carrying 300 people.
Yemen, facing a Shia Muslim rebellion in the north and separatist protests in the south, said it will not tolerate militant groups on its territory.
Western allies have sought to bolster Yemen’s government for fear that al Qaeda might exploit the country’s instability to launch more attacks across the globe.
Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi said in December there could be up to 300 al Qaeda militants in Yemen, some of whom may be planning attacks on Western targets.