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Yemen foils al Qaeda plan to bomb air base used by US -official

ADEN, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Yemeni security forces foiled a planby militants linked to al Qaeda to bomb an air base jointly usedwith the United States to carry out attacks against the group, asecurity official said on Saturday.

A car packed with explosives was discovered by authoritiesnear the gate of Al Anad air base in Yemen's southern provinceof Lahj, the official told Reuters.

"This was a planned suicide attack. Once the car wasdiscovered, security forces immediately arrested two men whowere inside the vehicle ... The car was filled with explosivesand anti-tank missiles," he added.

The Al Anad air base is used jointly with U.S. forces tolaunch attacks against al Qaeda militants across Yemen, mainlyusing U.S.-controlled drones.

Yemen, a U.S. ally, has been in upheaval since a popularuprising ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh inFebruary. Overlooking one of the world's busiest oil shippingroutes, the country is plagued by poverty and lawlessness thatthe toppling of Saleh has done little to change.

Washington backed a military offensive in May to recaptureareas of Abyan province - which borders Shabwa province - fromIslamist insurgents.

Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is viewed byWashington as the most dangerous branch of the militant networkestablished by Osama bin Laden.

(Reporting by Dhuyazen Mukhashaf and Mohamed Mushashaf; Writingby Amena Bakr; Editing by Andrew Roche)

((amena.bakr@thomsonreuters.com)(+9714398300)(Reuters

Messaging: amena.bakr.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: YEMEN ALQAEDA/