Bomb threat targets Cole investigators


Associated Press

ADEN, Yemen – Machine-gun mounted military vehicles surrounded a port-side hotel and civilian traffic was kept away today after a bomb threat targeted Americans investigating the attack on the USS Cole.

The U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, also was staying at the hotel and the threat was considered serious enough to wake her to inform her early today. Bodine has temporarily moved from the embassy in San’a to monitor the investigation.

The U.S. Defense Department said Tuesday that American forces in Bahrain, Qatar and Turkey are on heightened alert because of new evidence of terrorist threats in the region.

In Aden, Yemeni security officials said the telephoned bomb threat from an unknown caller arrived around midnight. Yemeni and U.S. security officials held an emergency meeting before dawn and adopted the new security precautions, including preventing civilian traffic from getting within 500 yards of the hotel.

The Oct. 12 attack on the Cole killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded 39 others. Officials believe two suicide bombers maneuvered a small boat next to the destroyer and detonated it.

The bomb threat came as FBI investigators finished gathering evidence from the ship to send back to the United States for analysis.

About 80 FBI evidence technicians returned home today after completing their work, said a federal law enforcement official in Washington. Another more than 20 FBI agents remain in Yemen, including investigators, security and communications experts, the official said.

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno told a news conference the experts were leaving Yemen as soon as they completed their work. “We’re bringing them out and trying to do it in an orderly way that will ensure security,” Reno said.

The Cole is to be carried back to the United States on a special “heavy-lift” ship that is expected to reach Aden on Sunday.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Wednesday that one of the two suspected bombers has been identified by witnesses as an Egyptian and that a number of Arab veterans of Afghanistan’s war against Soviet troops had been detained in connection with the blast.

Saleh said the detainees were senior members of the Muslim militant group Islamic Jihad, including Yemenis, Egyptians and Algerians.

Terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden was prominently involved in the Afghan resistance and now lives in Afghanistan, but Saleh declined to say whether the attackers or detainees had any connection to bin Laden’s Al-Qaida group. Saleh spoke on MBC television, a Saudi-owned satellite channel broadcast from London.

If terrorism is proved, the Cole bombing would be the deadliest terrorist attack on the U.S. military since 19 Air Force personnel died in a 1996 truck-bomb explosion in Saudi Arabia.

A representative in the United States of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban said that “if the U.S. government or any other government provided us evidence, we are willing to take (bin Laden) to trial, according to their desire and their demands.”

But Abdul Hakim Mujahid – making a rare public speech at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts on Wednesday – said he doubted there was any evidence tying bin Laden to the attack.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Hussein Mohammed Arab said today that the investigation into a grenade attack on the British Embassy in San’a is nearing conclusion. He said the Islamic Jihad member suspected of throwing the grenade onto the embassy grounds one day after the Cole attack will be referred to the prosecution next week.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Members of South County Fire practice onboarding and offboarding a hovering Huey helicopter during an interagency disaster response training exercise at Arlington Municipal Airport on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. The crews learned about and practiced safe entry and exit protocols with crew from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue before begin given a chance to do a live training. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish, King counties train together for region’s next disaster

Dozens of agencies worked with aviators Tuesday to coordinate a response to a simulated earthquake or tsunami.

Police stand along Linden Street next to orange cones marking pullet casings in a crime scene of a police involved shooting on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens man identified in Everett manhunt, deadly police shooting

Travis Hammons, 34, was killed by officers following a search for an armed wanted man in a north Everett neighborhood.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Mountlake Terrace eyes one-time projects for $2.4M in federal funds

Staff recommended $750,000 for a new roof and HVAC at the library, $250,000 toward a nonprofit facility in Lynnwood and more.

The Snohomish River turns along the edge of the Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas’ Eddy on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
To build a healthier Snohomish River, more log jams

About $2.8M in grants will help engineer log jams, tear down levees and promote salmon restoration at Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve.

Dave "Bronco" Erickson stands next to the pink-and-purple 1991 Subaru Justy hatchback “Pork Chop Express” car that he is seeking to re-home for $500. The car has been on Whidbey Island for years, mainly as yard art. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
For sale: Whidbey’s fabled ‘Pork Chop Express’ gets great smileage

Asking price is $500 for the 1991 Subaru Justy, a three-cylinder econobox with 65K miles and a transmission as rare as hen’s teeth.

Most Read