A Yemeni security official says authorities have detained a U.S. citizen suspected to have links to al-Qaida.

The official said Wednesday that the American was arrested in a hotel in the southern city of Shabwa, a onetime stronghold of al-Qaida militants, later pushed out into nearby mountains by a military offensive. They say he was holding two U.S. passports and one German one.

The official declined to give further details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Yemen has detained a number of Westerners, Asians, and other foreigners over alleged links to al-Qaida.

Washington considers Yemen's Al-Qaida branch to be the terror network's most dangerous offshoot.

The U.S. Embassy could not be reached immediately for comment.