Yemeni security forces have located and killed an “al-Qaeda kingpin” in Shabwa province after “intensive operations against the terror group”, according to an official statement. “’Abdullah Mehdar was killed last night by security forces which had besieged the house he hid in,’ provincial Governor Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi told reporters. Mehdar was the leader of an Al-Qaeda cell in al-Houta region, in the province of Shabwa, 600 kilometres east of Sanaa. Security forces were hunting for the remaining members of the cell, Ahmadi said. The Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day attack on a US airliner, with the United States accusing the group of training the alleged perpetrator, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Ahmadi had told AFP Tuesday that security forces arrested four Al-Qaeda suspects, two of them wounded in a firefight. A tribal source said that 18 suspects in the same area managed to escape a police raid and fled to a neighbouring mountain.”