Tags: U.S. | Kills | al-Qaeda | Terrorist | Yemen

U.S. Kills al-Qaeda Terrorist in Yemen

Monday, 04 November 2002 12:00 AM

The missile was not fired from a U.S. military aircraft, according to Pentagon sources. The CIA, which has had armed Predator unmanned aircraft in the region since the spring, refused to comment but did not deny involvement.

The CIA rigged the Predator to carry Hellfire missiles during the Afghan war, and since then the military has experimented with launching satellite-guided bombs off the aircraft.

All six men in the car, suspected members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, were killed in the explosion, the Yemen Interior Ministry said Monday.

"Initial information suggests that Ali Qaid Senan al Harithy, wanted for acts of sabotage, is among the six killed," the ministry told the official Saba news agency. The United States has linked al Harithy to the attack on the USS Cole in Aden that killed 17 sailors in October 2000.

"Traces of explosives, ammunition, weapons and communication systems were found in the stricken car," the ministry said.

The explosion occurred in northern province of Marib, a largely ungoverned and rugged mountainous region about 100 miles east of Sanaa. In March the United States sent roughly 100 Special Forces trainers to Yemen to teach its military how to go after al-Qaeda terrorists in the vast no-man's-land of the country. Fewer than a dozen U.S. military personnel remain in the country.

However, just across the narrow strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden is a growing U.S. counter-terrorist task force composed of more than 700 U.S. Marines and Special Forces soldiers based in and off the coast of Djibouti.

Pentagon officials say the U.S. Defense Department was not involved in Sunday's incident but would not offer any further details.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused to comment on the explosion at a news conference Monday but spoke about Yemen's cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism.

"We have some folks in that country that have been working with the government and helping them think through ways of doing things," Rumsfeld said.

"And we think that over time it ought to be beneficial because there's no question but that there are al-Qaeda in Yemen, there's no question but that to some extent they've take advantage of, on the one side, the sea, on the other side, borders that are sparsely populated, just as in other parts of the world borders have been used advantageously by terrorists. So the arrangement's been a good one, and it's ongoing."

Witnesses say they saw a helicopter hovering overhead shortly before the explosion, according to Voice of America. Earlier, Yemeni officials said the men were possibly carrying explosives in their car.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's family was originally from Yemen.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The missile was not fired from a U.S. military aircraft, according to Pentagon sources. The CIA, which has had armed Predator unmanned aircraft in the region since the spring, refused to comment but did not deny involvement. The CIA rigged the Predator to carry Hellfire...
U.S.,Kills,al-Qaeda,Terrorist,Yemen
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2002-00-04
Monday, 04 November 2002 12:00 AM
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