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Yemen bomb suspect released, lawyer says

The Los Angeles Times reports today, (11/01/10) in an article entitled "Yemen bomb suspect released, lawyer says," that Yemen authorities released on Sunday a 23-year-old engineering student who had been arrested a day earlier for her alleged connection to Al Qaeda and a failed plot to mail packages of explosives to the U.S.. 

Hanan Samawi, who was detained Saturday after her cell phone was tracked back to shipping orders, was released Sunday for reasons not explicitly stated by the Yemen government. The release could be a potential political embarrassment for President Ali Abdullah Saleh. President Saleh had announced Samawi's arrest in a high-profile news conference apparently designed to show that his government was taking aggressive action in the Arabian Peninsula against al Qaeda. 

An unnamed Yemen official in Washington indicated Samawi's was a case of mistaken identity. The official noted that the woman who did drop off the package "used a passport and an ID that had the full name of Hanan Samawi, and her address and phone number…. We believe it was someone who knew Hanan Samawi or somehow their paths crossed."

Samawi's lawyer, Abdulraham Barman, noted: "I think it's an orchestration to draw more attention to Yemen. The U.S. wants to be more active here, and this plot is a fabrication to justify coming military strikes against Al Qaeda."

For the full text of today's article, click here

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