Al Qaeda embassy bombing plot foiled in Yemen

Yemeni officials uncovered the plot by Ansar al-Sharia when three of the group's operatives were stopped by local police on Wednesday, according to reports by state news agency SABA on Wednesday. 

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Ansar al-Sharia is the political arm of al Qaeda's Yemen cell known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is the most active and dangerous of all the groups' various factions operating across the globe. 

The three suspects were reportedly caught with "weapons, explosives and maps showing the location of foreign embassies," Yemeni security officials told SABA. 

The homes of several "military commanders and other important people" within Yemen were also marked on the maps, according to reports.

The officials provided no specifics on which embassies had been targeted as part of the foiled attack. 

The planned embassy attacks were allegedly in response to an ongoing offensive by Yemeni military, backed by U.S. intelligence and American-led drone strikes, to reclaim key territory in the southern province of Abyan from AQAP militants. 

The CIA and Pentagon have been conducting an aggressive airstrike campaign via unmanned drones against AQAP targets in support of the Yemeni counterterrorism offensive that began earlier this year. 

American and Yemeni warships allegedly shelled al Qaeda targets in Abyan in March, which reportedly killed 29 AQAP insurgents. The U.S. Navy has denied any involvement in the operation. 

In April, A U.S-led airstrike against an al Qaeda-run training camp in southern Yemen ended in the deaths of 15 militants. The strike came days after American drones killed a dozen AQAP members during an attack on another terrorist training hub in the country.


The embassy plot comes just a month after American, British and Saudi intelligence foiled an AQAP attempt to blow up a commercial airliner in U.S. airspace. 

The would-be bomber, who was actually a double agent working with U.S. and Saudi intelligence, was a native of the Mideast country and a naturalized British citizen. 

Posing as an Islamic fundamentalist willing to fight for AQAP, the double agent was reportedly given a new type of explosive that was undetectable by current forms of airline security, according to news reports at the time.