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Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2000

Ship blast probe finds bomb house

October 18, 2000

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— Local investigators in Yemen have seized bomb-making equipment in an abandoned dwelling near the port of Aden, and several men who stayed there may be linked to the suicide bombing of a U.S. warship here, an American official said Tuesday.

The FBI official in Washington said the discovery appeared "significant," but warned it was too early to know if the raid by Yemeni authorities would help identify those behind Thursday's deadly attack on the guided missile destroyer Cole. The official, who is involved in the investigation, requested anonymity.

The possible break in the expanding investigation came as Navy divers and engineers using metal-cutting equipment recovered the remains of six of the 17 crew members killed in the massive blast.

The six victims were found in the mangled wreckage above and below the ship's waterline, and included two bodies that had been visible but unreachable since the blast, according to Rear Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, head of the task force sent here to head the ship recovery effort.

Divers are still searching for the remains of six sailors presumed to be inside the ship's crushed interior compartments. The bodies of five other victims were flown home for burial last week.

U.S. officials familiar with the initial reports from Yemeni authorities said they were still trying to evaluate information about what one called "the house filled with explosives."

There were conflicting reports as to whether two, four or six men had stayed in the house for several days before the bombing. All apparently have now disappeared.

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