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Old 04-11-2003, 07:51 AM   #1
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USS Cole suspects escape

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) _ Yemeni authorities were hunting for 10 of
the main suspects in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole after they
escaped from prison Friday, officials said.
The fugitives, including chief suspect Jamal al-Badawi, had been
jailed in the port city of Aden since shortly after the destroyer
was bombed, killing 17 American sailors.
Officials at Aden's governor's office would not say how the men
escaped early Friday. But they quoted intelligence sources as
saying security forces were out in force in a major search
Photographs of the men were distributed to police and houses of
the escaped men's relatives were searched, the officials said on
condition of anonymity.
The Oct. 12, 2000, attack was blamed on Osama bin Laden's
al-Qaida network.
Al-Badawi allegedly helped buy the dinghy used by the two
suicide bombers, who rammed the destroyer as it was refueling in
The 10 men, some of whom are believed to be linked to al-Qaida,
were part of a 17-man group arrested after the Cole bombing.
Officials said that the men might have left Aden and headed to
al-Qaida strongholds in the northern province of Shabwah.
Last July, Walid Abdullah Habib, a Yemeni member of al-Qaida who
was arrested while trying to enter the country illegally, escaped
from prison.
Habib was arrested this year in a desert area near the
Oman-Yemen border and handed over to Yemeni authorities. Habib is
from Shabwah.
Yemen, the ancestral home of bin Laden, has been a hotbed of
terrorist activity.
Supporters of al-Qaida have claimed responsibility for several
bombings targeting security officials and government offices in the
past few months.
Yemen committed itself to joining the war on terrorism following
the Sept. 11 attacks in America and has allowed U.S. forces to
enter the country and train its military.
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