Twenty-seven suspected Al Qaeda militants were arrested after security forces in Yemen foiled a planned terrorist attack on the the Gulf of Aden oil refinery, reports have said.
Police and Yemeni soldiers arrested six armed men in a car who were about to carry out the attack in Aden on Saturday morning, Aden Security deputy chief Brigadier Najeeb Moughles was quoted by the Ministry of Defence as saying.
Another 21 arrests were made in follow-up operations around the Red Sea port city, including senior members of the group, the statement from the ministry said, according to Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News.
The operation comes less than two months after a number of policemen were seriously wounded in the city in December in an Al Qaeda car bomb attack on Aden Security that destroyed part of the force’s headquarters.
Established by BP in 1952, the refinery was transferred to state ownership in 1977 and is operated by Aden Refinery Company, a unit of the Ministry of Oil & Minerals.
Pipelines leading to the refinery from the oilfields of Maarib province have come under frequent attack by disgruntled tribesmen and Al Qaeda militants.
The country has seen already-high levels of violence further increase in 2014 as the country struggles to overcome deep divisions exposed by the ousting of former president Ali Abudallah Saleh in 2011.
The capital Sanaa has in recent days been placed under a tightened zonal security regime since a prison break last week in which 29 convicts escaped drew heavy criticism upon security forces from the interim president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.