SAN'A, Yemen – Yemen is holding 85 detainees suspected of links to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network, the country's state-run news agency reported Thursday.
The SABA news agency quoted an unnamed security source who said some of those being held are also suspected of links to the Yemeni Islamic Jihad movement. The source said the suspects were being questioned and that some of them are accused of carrying out illegal acts. The report did not elaborate.
A team of Yemeni officials returned from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday after interviewing 69 Yemenis who are among hundreds of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters being held at a U.S. military facility there, the 26 September newspaper reported Thursday.
There were no further details and team members were not immediately available for comment.
On Wednesday, the leader of the Islamic opposition party, Sheik Abdullah al-Ahmar, said in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat, that detainees in Yemen numbered hundreds or maybe thousands.
But al-Ahmar was also quoted as saying that there were no terrorist groups in Yemen linked to Al Qaeda "because we are a society that condemns terrorism and rejects extremism."
Yemen is thought to be the home of hundreds of Arabs who fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan and then returned to the poor and lawless nation on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
The United States has tried to get Yemen to cooperate on anti-terrorism since the USS Cole was bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 American sailors in October 2000.
Yemen committed itself to joining the war on terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks and has allowed U.S. forces to enter the country and train its military.