A large-scale operation to arrest al-Qaeda members is underway in Yemen. On December 14, special anti-terrorist forces led by commander Major-General Ahmed Saleh, the younger son of the country's president, launched the operation in 4 provinces to search for activists of this terrorist organisation, including Osama bin-Laden's son-in-law. In the course of the operation the troops were met with fierce resistance from militants of a local tribe. On Tuesday, a real fight, which involved tanks, artillery and helicopters, started in the village of al-Halsun, Marib province. 13 special forces servicemen, 7 militants of the local tribe Al Jalal were reported killed and 21 people wounded. The servicemen will be buried in the capital of Yemen on Thursday. The editorial of the pro-government newspaper Al-Thawra reports that "the anti-terrorist operation is an action in support of Yemen's sovereignty and meets national interests." According to the newspaper, "a failure in the fight against terrorism fought by internal forces could turn the country into an object of foreign intervention." Whilst on a visit to Washington, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was called on to step up the fight against terrorism, and was warned that otherwise the US will do that itself.
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