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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.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Date:May 26, 2007
Words:303
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