A large-scale operation began in Yemen to liquidate the infrastructure of Al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad organisations. The operation, in which special anti-terror units, commanded by brigadier-general Ahmed Ali (the eldest son of the country's president), are taking part and combat helicopters used, is being conducted in Marib, al-Jauf, Shabwa and Hadramauth provinces where training camps and bases of terrorists possibly remain. Sheih Abdelmajid al-Zindani is the spiritual leader of the Yemeni extremists, and the US FBI believes he is very dangerous. He is also the leader of the opposition Islamic party of reforms and of the underground organisation Islamic Jihad connected with al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, president of Yemen Ali Saleh, speaking in the main mosque of the capital on Wednesday, declared that San'a is conducting negotiations with the UN and Pakistani authorities on the extradition of 400-500 its citizens who fought in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban. Saleh also reported that all the religious educational establishments which advocated Islamic extremism will be closed. Yemeni extremists participated in blowing up US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, and in the act of terror on the US Cole destroyer in October 2000.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart