YEMEN - May 24 - Yemen Accuses Iran Of Backing Northern Rebels.
Yemen accuses Iranian religious institutions of giving financial
support to Shi'ite rebels who have been fighting government forces
in northern Yemen. The rebels oppose Yemen's close alliance with
the US. Yemeni officials say the group wants to reinstall the Islamic
rule that was overthrown in 1962. Hundreds of people have been killed
and thousands have fled their homes due to the heavy clashes. "The
rebels receive funds from religious institutions in Iran",
Yemen's Interior Minister, Rshad Al Alimi told reporters. "We
know how their [Iranians] intelligence game is played", he added.
Last week, Yemen recalled its ambassador to Iran over the alleged
support. Shi'ite Muslim Iran denies the accusations. Fierce clashes
between the rebels, led by Abdul-Malik Al Houthi - also known as the
Houthis -and the security forces erupted in January 2006, after the
group attacked government installation in the northern province of
Saada, triggering a major security crackdown. The Houthis deny receiving
Iranian support. Alimi said that Iran was harbouring the rebels'
leaders, but did not name them. Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Al
Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, joined the US-led war on terrorism after
the 9/11 attacks on US cities. The Houthis are not linked to Al Qaida.
Al Qaida militant gives himself up A Yemeni-American Al Qaida militant,
thought to be a key figure in the fatal bombing of the US warship Cole
in 2000, is back behind bars after a mass jail breakout last year,
Yemen's interior minister said. Jaber Elbaneh, a key Al Qaida
leader, was one of the 23 inmates who tunnelled out of jail in the
capital, Sana'a in February 2006, Rshad Al Alimi told reporters. He
said the inmate gave himself up two days ago. Yemen says Elbaneh was
also one of the masterminds of the 2002 attack on the French supertanker Limburg.