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Yemen to Strengthen Efforts to Fight Al-Qaida

Yemen says it plans to set up anti-terrorism forces in the country's restive south to fight al-Qaida's branch in the country.

Yemen's government said Saturday elite anti-terrorism units will be deployed in the provinces of Shabwa, Abyan, Hadramawt and Marib to combat al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The announcement comes after the United States urged Yemen to step up its fight against al-Qaida militants in Yemen.

U.S. counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan made the appeal in a phone call Thursday to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Brennan urged Yemen's president to take "forceful action" against al-Qaida to stop it from carrying out attacks in Yemen and other countries, including the United States.

One year ago, a Nigerian man with Yemeni links failed in an attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger plane. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.

Yemen has since intensified its campaign against al-Qaida.

But the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, said recently al-Qaida's branch in Yemen is a "serious" threat to the United States and has become substantially more dangerous over the past two years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.