Yemeni Forces Launch Manhunt for Al Qaeda Leader

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Security forces in Yemen have launched a manhunt for the suspected leader of an Al Qaeda cell.

Mohammed Ahmed al-Hanaq is believed to be hiding in a mountainous region northeast of Yemen's capital. Tribal leaders in the area tell The Associated Press that officials are demanding that they surrender al-Hanaq and another Al Qaeda suspect related to him.

The U.S. says the cell al-Hanaq is thought to lead was behind a plot to send Al Qaeda fighters into the capital to carry out attacks, possibly against foreign embassies. The threat forced the closure of the U.S. and British embassies for two days earlier this week.

Security forces apparently came close to capturing al-Hanaq on Monday. Heavy clashes broke out as security forces pursued him through the Arhab region. While al-Hanaq escaped, two militants with him were killed. The Interior Ministry says seven other fighters were later arrested.

Yemen has intensified its campaign against Al Qaeda militants in recent weeks, and the U.S. has boosted its counterterrorism aid to the country.