Middle East

Terror tunnel found near Saleh’s home

Yemeni protesters hold flags of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas next to a mock rocket launch pad mounted on a car during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on August 9, 2014, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS

SANAA: Yemeni authorities are investigating a tunnel dug near ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s residence, the official news agency reported Tuesday, as his party claimed it was an assassination plot.

Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years before being forced out in February 2012 and replaced by his deputy, Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, under a U.N.- and Gulf-sponsored deal.

“The Supreme Security Committee received a complaint Monday about a tunnel and excavation works near the residence of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh,” Saba news agency reported, quoting an official.

“Security services immediately began legal measures and collecting evidence” from the site, on orders from President Hadi, it said.

The 88-meter tunnel was connected to a hangar north of Saleh’s residence. A committee was formed to “identify the motives and parties” behind the tunnel, Saba said.

The powerful General People’s Congress party, which is still headed by Saleh, said: “We were surprised to discover an organized terrorist act targeting the nation’s security, stability and unity.”

The tunnel was designed to “carry out a terrorist act” targeting Saleh’s “life, family, his security guards and leadership,” the GPC said.

The party likened the alleged plot to a June 3, 2011, explosion in his presidential compound that wounded Saleh and killed 11 people.

Critics accuse Saleh of impeding the political transition in the deeply tribal country, which is facing threats from Al-Qaeda, a northern Shiite rebellion and a southern secessionist movement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 13, 2014, on page 10.




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