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Monday, 21 January, 2002, 15:24 GMT
'New leads' in Yemen bombing probe
Damage from a bomb on the USS Cole in Yemen
Seventeen American sailors died in the bombing
Investigations in Yemen into the bombing of the American warship the USS Cole have uncovered important new leads, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

Robert Mueller, currently in Yemen holding talks with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, praised the country's co-operation with the investigation into the 2000 bombing, which killed 17 American servicemen.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
President Saleh: Was accused of not doing enough to deter militants
"Working as partners we have uncovered a great deal of important information and many new leads," he said.

"I am confident this co-operation will continue."

Yemen is currently holding several people in relation to the attack, but Yemeni officials told Reuters news agency that their trial had been postponed following a request from the US that the investigation be widened further.

Yemen has been actively seeking suspected members of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network following speculation that it would become the next US military target following air strikes in Afghanistan.

As part of a crackdown on Islamic militants, Yemen rounded up more than 100 foreigners enrolled in Muslim religious schools last week and ordered such schools to follow a more moderate curriculum.

'Leadership and vision'

Troops were also sent into the Marib, Shebwa and al-Jawf regions in an attempt to flush out militants.

The government acted in response to accusations that it had not done enough to prevent militants entering and working within the nation.

Mr Mueller said President Saleh had shown "remarkable political leadership and vision" in his actions.

Four Britons were among those detained, and are expected to be deported in the next few days.

All were held for violating residency requirements.

See also:

20 Sep 01 | Middle East
Yemen rounds up Muslim extremists
22 Aug 01 | Middle East
US and Yemen differ over inquiry
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Attractive base for anti-West Islamists
14 Jan 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Yemen: Arabia's 'Wild West'
19 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Yemen
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