Terrorism: October 22, 2002


Yemen has admitted that the recent explosion and fire aboard a 300,000 ton French oil tanker Limburg was the result of an October 6th terrorist attack. The tanker had slowed to pick up a pilot for entry to Yemen's oil loading facility. A small boat approached and there was an explosion when the boat appeared to hit the Limburg. Yemen has rounded up the usual suspects from among the many Islamic radical groups that operate openly in the country. The attack was similar to the one against the American destroyer USS Cole in 2000. At first, Yemen insisted that it was not a terrorist attack, but rather an explosion on board the tanker. But the tanker was newly built and full of safety devices. Moreover, its unheard of for there to be an accidental explosion in the compartment of a tanker that is full of oil. As investigators examined the ship, they found traces of military explosives (C4) on the tanker, as well as debris from another boat (apparently the speedboat that exploded.) The Limburg was taken under tow to keep if from grounding. The fire was eventually put out and the oil is being transferred. The Limburg is not in danger of sinking, but will have to be towed to a large repair facility before it can be returned to service. One member of the crew was killed in the explosion. No one has taken responsibility for the attack, the al Qaeda has publicly called for attacks on Western ("Infidel") economies and attacks on Western oil supplies would do that. Such attacks would also hurt the economic well being of millions of Moslems in nations dependent on the sale of oil for most of their export sales. 


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