Yemen hands over 29 Al Qaida operatives wanted by the Saudis
CAIRO — Yemen has sent dozens of Al Qaida operatives to Saudi Arabia.
The Yemeni Defense Ministry said 29 members of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula were extradited to Saudi Arabia. Most of the AQAP agents were said to have been Saudi nationals and wanted by Riyad.
"Under the security and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries, the Yemeni security authorities handed over to the Saudi counterparts almost 29 terrorists of Al Qaida during the last few days," the Yemeni Defense Ministry said.
In a statement on Feb. 12, the Defense Ministry said those extradited were deemed fugitives by Saudi Arabia. The ministry did not name the detainees but said they were arrested over the last few years.
The Saudi government did not confirm the Yemeni announcement. But officials said the Yemeni extradition took place in several stages during early 2014.
"I will release a statement as soon as I am informed by the security departments in the kingdom," Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al Turki said.
Officials said numerous Saudi operatives fled the kingdom for Yemen and established AQAP about five years ago. On Feb. 11, a suspected Saudi agent of Al Qaida, identified as Taleb Al Taleb, surrendered in Saudi Arabia.
"His initiative to surrender himself to security authorities will be considered while looking into his case," Al Turki said.