Dozens killed in Yemen’s air strike on al-Qaeda
The Saudi government has recently expressed its concern about the resurgence of the movement in the region.
Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency quoted the security official as saying Saudis and Iranians had been at the meeting.
“We are still unsure if two of the top leaders have been killed or not,” Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. “One of them is the Saudi al-Qaeda member Nasser al-Weheshi,” he added.
Another official told AFP that the suspected militants had been meeting to plan terror attacks in Yemen, in retaliation for Yemeni military air strikes carried out last week.
Reuters cited a security official saying that a radical Muslim preacher linked to the U.S. army psychiatrist charged over the fatal shooting of 13 people at a United States (U.S.) army base was suspected to be among those killed.
Yemen-based al-Qaeda sympathizer, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was released from a Yemeni prison last year, and Maj Nidal Hasan had exchanged e-mails before the shooting at Fort Hood last month, U.S. officials claimed.
Last week, Yemeni officials said they had killed 34 suspected al-Qaeda militants and arrested 17 in operations in Abyan province in the south and in Arhab, north of Sanaa.
Officials said the militants had allegedly been planning multiple suicide attacks, with eight of them preparing explosive vests at the time of the raids.
Analysts say Yemen, the ancestral home of al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, has long been an ideal base for jihadists.
With its rugged mountains and traditionally weak central authority, it is terrain well suited to militant groups looking for hiding places and training camps.