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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 22:37 GMT
Al-Qaeda suspect dies in Yemen blast
Police in Yemen say a suspected member of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network has blown himself up in a suburb of the capital, Sanaa, after being cornered by security forces.

Samir Ahmed Mohammed al-Hada, 25, was being chased and died when a grenade he was trying to throw at police blew up in his hand, the statement said.

[Al-Hada] visited Afghanistan, where he trained to carry out acts of terrorism

Yemeni police
No one else was killed or injured.

Yemeni authorities say al-Hada was named on a US list of suspects wanted in connection with the bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in October, 2000, which killed 17 US servicemen.

It was not clear if Hada was connected with an alleged anti-US plot in Yemen.

Gun battle

Police say they began investigating al-Hada after receiving a complaint from his landlord.

USS Cole
Al-Hada was wanted over an attack on the USS Cole

It was discovered al-Hada was an active member of al-Qaeda and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

A police official said al-Hada had "visited Afghanistan, where he trained to carry out acts of terrorism" and was suspected of "carrying out terrorist acts".

Yemen intelligence said the gunfight erupted in the centre of Sanaa after security forces surrounded al-Hada's hideout.

Al-Hada is reported to have escaped in a taxi in the ensuing confusion and thrown a hand grenade at police, which went off prematurely.

Police said al-Hada was carrying false identity documents when he died.

Terror link

Scores of Yemenis are believed to have joined al-Qaeda - the organisation blamed for the 11 September attacks on the United States.

Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei
The FBI named Yemeni national Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei as a terror suspect

On Monday, the US authorities issued a security alert identifying a Yemeni national - and more than 16 associates - the FBI believes could be plotting an attack in the US or Yemen.

The main suspect was named as Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei - who is believed to have been born to Yemeni parents in Saudi Arabia in 1979.

US investigators and military advisers are reported to have returned to Yemen in past 24 hours.

On Tuesday, Yemen said it had taken "all necessary steps" to prevent a possible terrorist attack in light of the US warning.

Yemeni officials say the attack on al-Hada is proof they are serious in joining the US war on terror.

The BBC's Nick Pelham
"Police had surrounded what they said was his hideout"
See also:

12 Feb 02 | Americas
Alert stirs US terror fears
12 Feb 02 | Americas
FBI's new terror suspects
07 Feb 02 | Americas
'American Taleban' had Yemen hopes
19 Dec 01 | Middle East
Yemen attacks 'al-Qaeda hideout'
19 Dec 01 | Middle East
Yemen praised after al-Qaeda operation
18 Dec 01 | Middle East
Yemen's uphill struggle with al-Qaeda
12 Dec 01 | Monitoring
Three countries fear US wrath
11 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Timeline: Yemen
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