Terrorism: December 17, 2000


: the organization until business opens the next day.--Stephen V Cole

Investigations in the bombing of the USS Cole have made some progress, although the Yemenis only recently started cooperating with the FBI and have the final say about when the case will be closed. The two men who actually drove the boat into the side of the USS Cole were Yemenis who had been born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Within weeks before the attack, they had been in Afghanistan. While the terrorist training camps ("the Base") run by Osama bin Laden are not the only ones in Afghanistan, it is unlikely that they could have visited his camps if he was not aware of their upcoming mission. The mastermind of the attack, according to Yemeni police, was Muhammed Omar al-Harazi. He has not been captured, but is known to be a veteran of fighting in Afghanistan and to have spent time at bin Laden's camps. Two Yemenis who were directly involved in the attack have been arrested and face trial in Yemen. (There is no realistic possibility of Yemen extraditing them to the US, and the US is satisfied that they will face harsh justice in a Yemeni court. The only concern is whether their confessions were the result of torture and whether they will tell all they know before being executed.) Four others are under arrest in Yemen for selling the actual bombers fake identification or other supplies used in the attack. It is doubtful if these four even knew that an attack on a US ship was in the offing. Osama bin Laden is known to work through key lieutenants including: 

@ Ayman al-Zawahiri: Leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he recruits most of the core of bin Laden's forces and often speaks in public for bin Laden.

@ Sheikh Mir Hamzah: Secretary of an Islamic radical group in Pakistan, he is the vital link between bin Laden's Afghan camps and the outside world.

@ Imag Mugniyah: Security chief for Hezbollah in Lebanon, he once planned the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

@ Juma Namangani: Military commander of the Islamic fundamentalists in Uzbekhistan, he is trying to overthrow most of former Soviet Central Asia.

@ Raed Hijazi: A suspected courier for bin Laden, he is an American citizen and is wanted for plotting mass murder in Jordan.--Stephen V


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