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Archive for Sunday, November 12, 2000

Previous attacks in Yemen failed

November 12, 2000

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— At least three plots against American targets in Yemen failed in the past year before last month's suicide bombing of the USS Cole, Yemeni sources close to the investigation said Saturday.

More than one suspect in Yemeni custody being questioned in connection with the Oct. 12 Cole bombing has admitted to involvement in a campaign targeting Americans in Yemen, the sources said, insisting on anonymity. They did not provide a specific number but did say the suspects belong to the Islamic Jihad and other Islamic groups.

The Islamic Jihad is linked to America's No. 1 terror suspect, Osama bin Laden.

In the first week of November 1999, Yemeni authorities foiled plans to blow up a convoy of U.S. military personnel heading to Yemen's National Center for the Removal of Land Mines hours before the operation was to be carried out, the sources said. Yemeni security forces discovered the explosives planted about one mile away from the hotel where the Americans were staying and defused them, sources said.

When that attempt fell apart, the sources said the suspects made plans to attack the Royal Hotel, near the port in Aden, where most of the American servicemen were staying. It wasn't immediately clear when that operation was to be carried out, and no details were available on why it failed.

An attack similar to the one carried out on the Cole was aborted in January when the attackers realized their boat had been overloaded with explosives and was not seaworthy, the sources said. ABC News, citing intelligence sources, has reported that the target of that attack was the USS The Sullivans, a destroyer that refueled in Yemen on Jan. 3.

Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others were injured when the Cole was bombed Oct. 12.

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