'Major Al Qaeda plot' foiled in Yemen
A police trooper inspects a vehicle at the entrance of the Sanaa International Airport on August 7, 2013. (AFP)
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A major Al Qaeda plot was foiled on Wednesday, Yemeni officials told AFP.
The plot that sought to seize control of two major cities, an oil export area and involved the kidnapping of foreigners, a Yemeni government spokesperson told AFP on Wednesday.
"The main aim of the plot was to seize control of two cities, Al-Mukalla and Ghayl Bawazeer," in southeastern Yemen, Rajeh Badi told Agence France Presse, noting that oil facilities near Mukalla were also on the list of targets.
Yemeni security forces are heavy on the ground as huge numbers of armoured vehicles have been deployed to protect vulnerable areas, according to BBC reports.
Both the US and UK have withdrawn diplomatic staff from Yemen, prompted by intelligence reports of "chatter" between high ranking Al Qaeda officials that spoke of renewed terrorist activity.
The US is reported to be preparing special operations forces for possible strikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen.