Yemeni radical cleric warns of foreign occupation

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SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s most influential Islamic cleric, considered an al-Qaida-linked terrorist by the United States, is warning against “foreign occupation” of the country as a U.S.-backed fight against the terror group intensifies.

Sheik Abdel-Majid al-Zindani says Yemen’s people and government “must be careful before a (foreign) guardianship is imposed on them.”

His comments reflect a deep mistrust of Washington’s increasing cooperation with Yemen’s government. Al-Zindani says Yemenis accept cooperation based on “respect and mutual interests,” but reject “military occupation of our country.”

Al-Zindani, an extremist who once associated with Osama bin Laden, is widely influential in Yemen and is an ally of the government.