UAE says it has arrested plotters linked to al Qaeda

Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:51am EDT
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By Yara Bayoumy

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday it had arrested a seven-member cell linked to al Qaeda that was planning attacks on the Gulf oil and business hub, the second time this year it has alleged a concrete threat from the militant group.

The UAE, an important military, counter-terrorism and business partner of the West, said the seven were Arab nationals who had been helping al Qaeda with recruitment, financing and logistical support.

"The cell was planning actions to target the country's security and the safety of its citizens and residents, and was carrying out recruitment, and promoting the actions of al Qaeda," WAM said.

"It was also supplying it (al Qaeda) with money and providing logistical support and seeking to expand its activities to some (other) countries in the region," WAM said.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has been spared an attack by al Qaeda and other militants; some analysts say the groups find it too useful as a communications and financial hub.

But in December, the UAE said it had arrested a cell of Emirati and Saudi Arabian members of a "deviant group" that was planning to carry out militant attacks in both countries and other states. The term "deviant group" is often used by authorities in Saudi Arabia to describe al Qaeda members.

Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan told a local newspaper in January that some of the group had links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which uses Yemen as a base for international operations.

There was no immediate word on whether Thursday's arrests were related.   Continued...