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

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

N3054V accident site. (Alaska State Trooper Photo)
Lake Stevens pilot, who lived ‘Alaska dream,’ died in Fairbanks crash

Former Snohomish County lawyer Harry “Ray” Secoy III, 63, worked as a DC-4 pilot in Alaska in the last years of his life.

Air and ground search and rescue teams found Jerry Riedinger’s plane near Humpback Mountain on Monday. (WSDOT photo)
Remains of pilot recovered near Snoqualmie Pass after Arlington flight

Jerry Riedinger never made it to Ephrata after departing the Arlington airport Sunday. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash.

Federal prosecutors say the two men shown here outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are Tucker Weston, left, and Jesse Watson. (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia)
Lynnwood roommates sentenced for roles in Jan. 6 riot

Tucker Weston was given two years in prison Thursday. Jesse Watson received three years of probation in August 2023.

Lynnwood firm faces $790K in fines for improper asbestos handling

State regulators said this is the fifth time Seattle Asbestos of Washington violated “essential” safety measures.

A truck towing a travel trailer crashed into a home in the Esperance neighborhood Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (South County Fire)
Man seriously injured after his truck rolls into Edmonds home

One resident was inside the home in the 22500 block of 8th Avenue W, but wasn’t injured, fire officials said.

Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Memorial Day holiday weekend travel nightmare is upon us

Going somewhere this weekend? You’ll have lots of company — 44 million new BFFs — on planes, trains and automobiles.

Bothell family says racism at Seattle Children’s led to teen’s death

In February 2021, Sahana Ramesh, the daughter of Indian immigrants, died after months of suffering from a rare disease.

Boeing Firefighters and supporters have a camp set up outside of Boeing on Airport Road as the company’s lockout of union firefighters approaches two weeks on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Union firefighters reject Boeing’s latest contract offer

The union’s 125 firefighters on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected the offer, which included “an improved wage growth” schedule

A “No Shooting” sign on DNR land near Spada Lake is full of bullet holes on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, along Sultan Basin Road near Sultan, Washington. People frequent multiple locations along the road to use firearms despite signage warning them not to. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County pumps the brakes on planned Sultan shooting range

The $47 million project, in the works for decades, has no partner or funding. County parks officials are reconsidering its viability.

Suzan DelBene, left, Rick Larsen
Larsen, DelBene request over $40M for projects in Snohomish County

If approved, Congress would foot the bill for traffic fixes, public transit, LED lights and much more around the county.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.