by Murad Abdu
ADEN, Yemen, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni police managed to capture five al-Qaida members in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday evening, a provincial security official said.
"On an intelligence tip-off, five terrorists were detained by police personnel in two different places in Sanaa. They were trying to target government and military facilities in the capital city," the official said.
Earlier on Wednesday the Yemeni government announced the death of Wael Abdullah al-Waeli, a terrorist ring leader linked to al- Qaida who planned and executed a number of terrorist operations including the assassination of a French national working for the European Union (EU) mission in Yemen.
"Al-Waeli has masterminded the abduction of a Dutch journalist and his wife, released earlier, in addition to his involvement in the terrorist attack on the central jail in Sanaa last February, in which 29 terrorists were escaped," the state-run Saba News Agency reported.
Besides al-Waeli, one terrorist was also killed and another arrested in Wednesday's operation, Saba quoted an official of the Supreme Security Committee as saying, adding that security services are still pursuing the cell's rest members.
Six foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen's capital Sanaa over the past two months, including two British nationals and a German.
Elsewhere in Yemen, three foreign al-Qaida leaders from Algeria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have been killed during fighting with the government forces in southeastern province of Shabwa, a defense ministry official said on Wednesday.
Militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have yet to make comments.
The Yemeni armed forces backed by mechanized battalions, air force and Yemeni special forces have killed, wounded and captured dozens of local and foreign AQAP militants during the ongoing fighting that started last week.
The bodies of foreign fighters from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Somalia and other nations have been discovered among the dead.
Numerous hideouts for the manufacture of IEDs, VBIEDs and suicide vests have been discovered, while a number of AQAP-owned vehicles, ammunition and weapons have been seized or destroyed.
Territories in Azzan and Mahfad, two of AQAP's main strongholds, have also been recaptured by the army troops.
The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.