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Sat 30 Aug 2008 03:35 PM

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Yemen arrests wanted Jihad leader

Authorities find leader of the Islamist Jihad movement in south of country after five-year search.

Yemeni authorities have arrested a leader of the Islamist Jihad movement in the south of the country after a five-year search, a security official said on Saturday.

The arrest came after an exchange of fire between police and supporters of Khaled Abdel Nabi, who had taken refuge in a house in the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan, the official said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The operation was part of an offensive against religious extremists responsible for attacks against security forces and oil installations in the south, the official said.

In 2003, Abdel Nabi, a member of the Jihad movement - which has no links to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network - launched a series of attacks before going into hiding in the Jabal Hatat mountains.

Five of Abdel Nabi's supporters were killed in an operation by security forces.

Last Sunday, security forces announced the arrest of 30 suspected Al-Qaeda members, saying they had dismantled an extremist cell, as part of a crackdown on the jihadist network in the eastern part of the country.

On August 12, the ministry of defence announced the death of a local chief and four others belonging to Al-Qaeda after armed clashes that left two policemen dead.

Yemen, ancestral homeland of bin Laden, has been battling suspected Al-Qaeda militants since before the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

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