Yemen's president said growing al-Qaeda attacks are his government's biggest challenge, though his military leaders refused Sunday to accept the intervention of foreign troops. President Ali Abdullah Saleh compared the recent attacks to the violence against government forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an address at a mosque on Saturday, he called on for religious clerics and Yemen's people to back him in the fight.
"Our people ... should foil this plot," he said. "The citizens should stand by the side of the state. These terrorists ... are harming the nation's and the citizens' interests."
Last week, American officials said the White House was considering deploying the CIA's armed Predator drones to Yemen.
President Saleh said the al-Qaida threat was the most troublesome. "This remains the last phase, which is the worst phase," Saleh said, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, a newspaper published by the Defense Ministry said Sunday that the government would not accept the presence of foreign troops. The Interior Ministry, which is also responsible for security, said Sunday it has raised the level of alert for its forces across the country and increased the number of patrols.