Qaeda members fled U.S.-backed strike to Oman: paper

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2012 3:55 AM
Qaeda members fled U.S.-backed strike to Oman: paper

DUBAI (Reuters) - Oman is investigating reports that members of al Qaeda fleeing a U.S.-backed army offensive in neighboring Yemen have crossed into Omani territory, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

"The security apparatus has received information about al Qaeda elements infiltrating the territories of the sultanate through Yemen, and checks are underway to track them down to take appropriate action," Oman newspaper quoted Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Badr bin Hamad al-Busaidi, as saying.

No arrests have been made, he told the paper.

The Yemeni army has driven an al Qaeda-linked group, Ansar al Sharia from their strongholds in southern Yemen in a major offensive, and Yemeni officials have said some of its fighters have fled toward a province bordering Oman.

The small oil and gas exporter is a key regional ally of the United States. The Gulf Arab state witnessed a Marxist revolt in the 1970, which was crushed with help from Britain.

Busaidi said that Oman was on the lookout for "any threat" to Oman or any of its neighbors, adding that contacts were underway with neighboring states on this subject.

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Jon Boyle)