Egyptian suspected in Cole’s bombing


Associated Press

ADEN, Yemen — One of the men believed to have bombed the destroyer USS Cole is an Egyptian, and several senior members of a Muslim militant group have been detained in connection with the blast, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Wednesday.

Saleh said the detainees — including Yemenis, Egyptians and Algerians — belonged to Islamic Jihad. He described the group as consisting of Arabs who fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

Terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden was prominently involved in the Afghanistan resistance, but Saleh declined to say whether the attackers or detainees had any connection to bin Laden’s Al-Qaida group.

The president said his government had deported members of Islamic Jihad, but that "pockets remain in hiding, dressed in Yemeni clothes."

He said an eyewitness had identified one of the bomber suspects as an Egyptian.

An earlier report said the suspects spoke with a Saudi accent. "It’s possible to imitate an accent," Saleh said when asked whether his disclosure contradicted the earlier report.

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 the bomb.

Also Wednesday, sources close to the investigation said authorities had detained a Yemeni carpenter who allegedly helped the Cole’s attackers refit their boat to carry explosives and a woman who bought the car they used to haul the boat.

The Yemeni sources said charges had not yet been filed in either case.

The carpenter confessed Tuesday that he had helped two men modify a small boat to carry explosives and then helped them load the explosives into the boat. It was not immediately clear if the man knew what the two planned to do with the bomb-laden boat. He was not named.

The carpenter had rented the men the house they used to work on the boat, Yemeni sources said. They said he was detained a day after the bombing but had provided details of his involvement only on Tuesday.

Yemeni investigators have increasingly turned their attention to the network the bombers used to plan and carry out the attack.

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 U.S. official, meanwhile, slightly altered the account of threat conditions at the time of the bombing.

A senior U.S. official said Wednesday that the Cole was in the third-highest state of alert when it entered the port Oct. 12. The Navy had earlier said the Cole and its crew were at the second-highest level.

Ships normally enter Aden at the third-highest level of alert, and there was apparently no reason to suspect Oct. 12 would be out of the ordinary. At the next highest level, a security boat might have accompanied the Cole, among other measures.

During a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, senators said that a Pentagon intelligence expert on terrorism in the Persian Gulf warned of possible terrorist attacks on U.S. forces there before the bombing of the USS Cole, but that higher-ups failed to pass the information to military commanders.

The intelligence official, whose name was not disclosed, resigned in protest the day after the Cole attack Oct. 12 in Yemen, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., said the allegations made by the Pentagon intelligence official would be discussed in detail during a closed-door committee hearing with several Pentagon officials, including Wilson of the Defense Intelligence Agency, for whom the official worked.

"What he felt is that his assessment was not given that proper level of consideration by his superiors and, as such, was not incorporated in" the final intelligence reports given to military commanders in the Gulf, Warner told reporters after the hearing.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Report of downed hot air balloon turns up farmer’s tarp near Snohomish

Two 911 callers believed they saw a hot air balloon crash, leading to a major search-and-rescue response. It was a false alarm.

A few weeks before what could be her final professional UFC fight, Miranda Granger grimaces as she pushes a 45-pound plate up her driveway on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Her daughter Austin, age 11 months, is strapped to her back. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Daily Herald staff wins 5 honors at annual journalism competition

The Herald got one first-place win and four runner-up spots in SPJ’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.

Most Read