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Sun 24 Feb 2008 12:59 PM

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Yemen foils terror attack

Security forces arrest 'saboteurs' attempting to blow up crude oil pipeline in country's Marib province.

Yemeni forces have foiled an attempt to blow up a crude oil pipeline in the Marib province and arrested a number of "saboteurs", the official Yemeni news agency Saba said on Sunday.

"Interrogations are under way, but the initial results indicate that this group is linked to the terrorist bombing of the pipeline last year," Saba said, citing the head of security in the province.

In November, tribesmen blew up a pipeline that carries crude oil from the Marib oil basin to storage tanks at the Ras Issa terminal for export. No one was harmed in the bombing, which took place in a desert area in the eastern Marib province.

Officials said at the time that the perpetrators were not linked to Islamist militants. Tribesmen sometimes kidnap holidaymakers and foreigners working in Yemen to press for better schools, roads and services or the release of prisoners.

Yemen foiled two suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in 2006, days after Al-Qaeda urged Muslims to target Western interests. Al-Qaeda's wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the foiled attacks and promised more strikes.

US ally Yemen is a small producer of oil with output of around 330,000 barrels per day (bpd) and exports of about 200,000 bpd. It has one large oil refinery at Aden with a throughput capacity of about 100,000 bpd.

Yemen has been widely seen in the West as a haven for Islamist militants, including Al-Qaeda supporters.

It joined the US-led war on terrorism launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US and has been battling Islamic militants for years.

In 2002 militants bombed the French oil supertanker Limburg off Yemen's coast. In 2000, a suicide attack on the US warship Cole killed 17 US sailors. (Reuters)

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