Islamist militants in southern Yemen said they executed 3 men on Sunday for
giving the United States information used to carry out drone strikes in the
Residents of the towns of Jaar and Azzan said 2 Saudis and 1 Yemeni were
beheaded at dawn by the militant group Ansar al-Sharia.
A spokesman for the group later said none of those executed were Saudi
citizens, but all three had been working for the intelligence services of the
kingdom, a close ally of the United States.
A number of important figures in Al Qaeda’s wing in Yemen are Saudi militants
wanted by the authorities in Riyadh.
The United States has been launching drone strikes against militants in the
south. Last month, at least 12 people were killed in one such attack.
Federal prosecutors in the United States said Friday that Anwar al-Awlaki, a
leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate who was killed in a drone strike last
year, had personally directed and approved the 2009 attempt to blow up an
airliner over Detroit.
Weakened by months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s
government has lost control of whole chunks of the country, giving Islamist
militants room to tighten their grip in the south.
In Aden late on Saturday, witnesses said, separatists set fire to a tent camp
housing about 100 antigovernment protesters, in opposition to an election on
Feb. 21 to replace Mr. Saleh. About 10 people were injured.
Last year, southern separatists joined protesters calling for Mr. Saleh to
leave, but the 2 sides have since grown apart.
The separatists want to revive a southern socialist state that was united with
the north in 1990. They fear that the election will not serve their goal.
Anti-Saleh demonstrators broadly back the vote as a step toward ending his
Northern Shiite rebels have said they too will boycott the vote, in which
acting leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is the sole candidate.
Mr. Saleh is in the United States receiving medical treatment for injuries
inflicted during an assassination attempt, but he has said he will return home
before the vote, shedding doubt on his commitment to leave office in line with
a Persian Gulf-brokered plan to end a year of political upheaval.