- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

From combined dispatches

SAN'A, Yemen An American was believed to be among the six militants killed in a CIA missile strike last weekend, a security source said yesterday.

The six men, including Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, al Qaeda's top man in Yemen, were killed Sunday when a Hellfire missile fired from a pilotless CIA spy plane destroyed the car they were riding in.

The source, who briefed the Associated Press and Reuters news agency on the condition of anonymity, said the other five were known by their aliases Saleh Abu Hamam, Al-Qia'gaa, Abu Jirah, Mounir and Jalal, also known as Ahmed Hijazi.

Jalal is believed to be a U.S. citizen, according to the source. He provided no other details and did not say how authorities came to establish that Jalal was American.

He said al-Harethi, who was in his mid-40s, first met al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1980s during the war against Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. The two men stayed in contact after the war ended and met again in Sudan, where bin Laden went in the 1990s, the source said.

Al-Harethi was believed to have coordinated the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

A Yemeni newspaper, September 26, reported that al-Harethi plotted last month's attack on the French tanker Limburg off Yemen, which left a Bulgarian crew member dead and 90,000 barrels of oil discharged in the Gulf of Aden.

The newspaper, whose editor in chief is President Ali Abdullah Saleh's press secretary, also reported that al-Harethi was responsible for several terror attacks in Yemen and was planning more attacks on Western targets in Yemen.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in the capital, San'a, closed for security reasons and protection of the building was increased. Yemen's cooperation with U.S. authorities in the war against terror is a sensitive issue in this Arab country, the ancestral homeland of bin Laden. Al Qaeda remains active here.

September 26 quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying that the Yemeni coast guard will soon receive five boats from the United States to help patrol ports. A second group of nine patrol boats will follow later, the official said.

Meanwhile, a London-based Arab newspaper reported yesterday that the United States is holding a member of Bahrain's royal family as an al Qaeda suspect at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

There are six Bahrainis among the hundreds of suspects captured during last year's U.S.-led military offensive in Afghanistan to flush out members of al Qaeda.

The Asharq al-Awsat daily quoted Sheik Ibrahim bin Mohammed al-Khalifa as saying his son, Sheik Salman, was arrested in Pakistan and handed over to U.S. authorities.

Sheik Ibrahim, a distant relative of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, told the newspaper that an unspecified party had received $20,000 for handing over his son.

He said Sheik Salman, 23, traveled in 2000 to Saudi Arabia for Islamic studies. Three months later, he informed his family that he had traveled to Pakistan to do relief work, the newspaper quoted Sheik Ibrahim as saying.

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet and a close Persian Gulf Arab ally of Washington, has said it had contacted U.S. authorities to secure the release of the six detainees.

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