The al Qaeda branch in Yemen
suffered a major blow when police arrested eleven terrorists last month. The
local al Qaeda crew, calling itself the Jund Al Yemen Brigades, has set off
bombs near the U.S. and Italian embassies, and a housing compound for
foreigners, over the last year. Al Qaeda in Yemen operations had actually peaked
in 2000, when a suicide bomber took a boatload of explosives into Aden harbor
and badly damaged a U.S. destroyer (the Cole). That attack killed 17 U.S.
sailors, and brought down the wrath of Yemeni security forces. Since September
11, 2001, the pressure has been steady, and hundreds of al Qaeda members and
supporters have been arrested or killed. That has thwarted many attacks, and
none of the ones that were carried out were as effective as the attack on the
USS Cole. On the downside, convicted terrorists have been able to bribe their
way out of jail, although they are often recaptured.