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SANAA - An aide to Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh said Thursday his security team had uncovered a plot to kill the former president with explosives planted in a tunnel running to a mosque inside his residential compound. Yemen's authorities said they were investigating. Saleh, who stepped down in 2012 amid mass protests against his rule after more than three decades in office, remains an influential figure in the country and has many enemies. He has survived at least two assassination attempts.
Abdullah al-Mughrabi, Saleh's private secretary, said the plot came to light following a tip-off to his security guards from one of the people involved in digging the tunnel. "Initial investigations showed that the tunneling began four months ago and its purpose was to assassinate the former president and his aides," Mughrabi said. "The tunnel had reached under a small mosque at the house which is used by the former president and top leaders of his political party." Mughrabi said Saleh's security went to inspect the tunnel and detained five people on the spot. Three were handed to Yemen's top security team.