The United Arab Emirates has broken up an al-Qaeda cell comprised of seven Arabs who were plotting attacks against the Gulf state, an official statement said Thursday.
The cell was “plotting acts that would have harmed the security of the country, its citizens and foreign residents,” said a statement carried by the official WAM state news agency.
“It was also supplying it [al-Qaeda] with money and providing logistical support and seeking to expand its activities to some regional countries,” the statement added.
This is not the first time the UAE has faced al-Qaeda terrorist threats.
In late 2012 the country’s authorities arrested a cell of Emirati and Saudi Arabian citizens, who were allegedly planning tocarry out militant attacks in both countries and against other states.
In 2010, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a merger of Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni and Saudi branches, said it was behind a plot to send two parcel bombs to the United States. The bombs were intercepted in Britain and the UAE emirate of Dubai.
The UAE, a U.S. ally, has supported Western counter-terrorism in the region and has worked to secure itself from any attack by al-Qaeda and other militant groups.
This relationship has invited threats and criticism.
In May 2002, al-Qaeda militants sent a letter to UAE authorities saying continued UAE cooperation with Washington in arresting what it called holy warriors would “bring the country into an arena of conflict,” according to al-Qaeda documents captured by the U.S. military and published by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. military academy at West point.
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