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US Anti-Terror Advisors to Visit Yemen - 2002-03-01

The United States may soon send Special Forces soldiers to Yemen to train local troops on counter-terror operations.

Yemeni officials say up to 100 U.S. troops are expected, arriving in small groups and leaving when their part of the training is finished. U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told reporters the Pentagon is still working out the details, saying it is still a work in progress and that no final decision has been made.

An adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff - Brigadier General John Rosa - says it is common knowledge that Yemen is a country where al-Qaida terrorists fleeing Afghanistan might go. But General Rosa also says U.S. officials are not sure whether al-Qaida members believed to be hiding in Yemen could be characterized as an active cell.

The United States suspects members of Osama bin Laden's network were responsible for the deaths of 17 American sailors in the October 2000 bombing of a U.S. warship in Yemen's port of Aden.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters Thursday American troops are not likely to be involved in combat operations in Yemen or other countries requesting U.S. assistance in counter-terrorism.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.