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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Yemen rounds up Muslim extremists
Damage to the USS Cole after suicide bomb attack
Seventeen sailors died in the attack on the USS Cole
By Frank Gardner in Cairo

Dozens of Muslim extremists - including suspected followers of Osama Bin Laden - have been arrested in Yemen.

The Yemeni Government is co-operating closely with US investigators eager to clear its country's name from any association with terrorism.

USS Cole relaunched
The USS Cole was relaunched three days after the attacks in the US
That is why Yemen is unlikely to be a target for any US retaliation following the attacks in Washington and New York.

Bin Laden's organisation is the prime suspect for the attacks and is also believed to be behind the bombing of the American naval vessel USS Cole in Aden harbour last year.

In Yemen's wild and often lawless provinces there are small groups of well armed extremists who are fiercely loyal to his cause.

They follow his belief that the west, especially the United States, is out to crush the Islamic faith.

Tourists kidnapped

They see Americans in the Middle East as modern day invaders, as infidels who must be driven out at all costs.

It was men like these who kidnapped 16 western tourists three years ago.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden is believed to be behind other attacks in Yemen
Four of the tourists were killed in a gunfight with Yemeni government troops.

The FBI suspected the kidnappers had links to Bin Laden.

Then, last year, a small boat drew up alongside the $1bn warship in Aden harbour and blew a massive hole in its side.

Seventeen US sailors and the suicide bombers died in the blast.

Once again suspicion fell on Osama Bin Laden.

See also:

22 Aug 01 | Middle East
US and Yemen differ over inquiry
17 Sep 01 | Americas
Net closing on terror suspects
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