x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

French al Qa'eda suspect arrested

Yemeni government authorities have arrested a French citizen suspected of having links with al Qa'eda who was attending the same language school as the failed Christmas Day bomber.

SANA'A // Yemeni government authorities have arrested a French citizen suspected of having links with al Qa'eda who was attending the same language school as the failed Christmas Day bomber. Jeremy Johnny Witter, 23, born in Orsay in the south-western suburbs of Paris, was arrested 10 days ago, according to a security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to media.

Mr Witter was studying at the Sana'a Institute for the Arabic Language - the school where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who attempted to blow up a transatlantic airliner on December 25 over Detroit, had taken courses in Arabic. Mr Witter, who came to Yemen in November 2009, was described by his acquaintances as "quiet [and] introverted". Yemen has arrested dozens of foreigners after Abdulmutallab's failed plot. Abdulmutallab told US investigators that there were "many like me" trained by al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The security official said some of the recently detained foreigners - including Britons, Americans, Africans and Asians - are believed to be linked to Abdulmutallab and that the arrests were made after foreign agencies provided names of people they wanted detained or under surveillance. malqadhi@thenational.ae