Iraqi explosives for planned terrorist act in Yemen

A prosecutor on Sunday showed a Yemeni court explosives allegedly confiscated by police when arresting three Iraqis charged with planning to blow up the British and U.S. embassies here.

The three _ Ahmed Salman Omar Daoud al-Zubeidy, Ahmed Muthana Jassim and Mohammed Mahdi Assi _ were arrested March 26, 2003 before carrying out the alleged plots in the Yemeni capital, San'a. A fourth defendant, Ali Ratib al-Saadi, is being tried in absentia.

Police also allege the four were former Iraqi intelligence service officers, but the defendants deny the charges and say they entered Yemen to work as teachers.

The trial, which began Aug. 7, was adjourned until Sept. 4.

Prosecutor Khaled al-Mawri told the Yemeni Specialist State Security Court that five small bags of TNT were allegedly found at the fugitive al-Saadi's home at the time the other three defendants were detained.

Al-Zubeidy, Jassim and Assi allegedly told police that al-Saadi had acquired the explosives for use in the alleged terror attacks, claimed al-Mawri.

Defense lawyer Abdul Aziz al-Samawi denied that the three defendants knew anything about the explosives, alleged police tortured his clients and asked that the charges against them be dropped.

According to the alleged confessions, Iraq's former intelligence service asked the defendants to attack the British and U.S. embassies plus other Western interests in Yemen when the war in Iraq began in March 2003.

The defendants allegedly said they hadn't carried out the attacks because they backed down for different reasons.

Yemen enjoyed close relations with Saddam Hussein's regime especially during the 1991 Gulf War when this country opposed United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq. It has also been accused of tolerating Muslim extremists.

But Yemen cracked down on militants following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and aligned itself with the U.S.-led war on terror, AP repoted.

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