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Monday, 23 October, 2000, 04:14 GMT
Yemen attack highly 'sophisticated'
bombers house in Aden
Yemeni authorities at the house the bombers used as a base
Washington's top anti-terrorism official says the recent attack on a US warship in Yemen had a "great deal of sophistication" and was similar to the bombings of two US embassies in east Africa in 1998.

US and Yemeni investigators at the scene of the bombing have already found valuable evidence, according to Richard Clarke, the National Security Council co-ordinator for security, speaking on CBS's 60 Minutes programme.


There are similarities in the sophistication of the attack, the pre-planning of the attack

Richard Clarke

US officials on Friday said they were looking at a number of militant groups in relation to the attack on the USS Cole in the harbour port of Aden.

Saudi-exile Osama Bin Laden's group al-Qa'ida, or "The Base", topped the list, they said.

The United States holds Osama Bin Laden responsible for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He is on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's list of the 10 most wanted suspected criminals.

Well-planned

US officials believe it was a long-planned and well-financed mission in which two men cruised up to the guided-missile destroyer in a small boat packed with explosives.

The blast injured 39 people
The blast injured 39 sailors
The blast killed 17 sailors and injured 39 others.

"It was a very large explosion and did very extensive damage and shows a great deal of sophistication with explosives," Mr Clarke said.

"There are some similarities that we see with East Africa."

"There are similarities in the sophistication of the attack, the pre-planning of the attack," he said.

"This is something that began long before the recent violence in the Middle East."

"This took months to plan and there are indications of safe houses, and planning, and moving of personnel in."

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See also:

16 Oct 00 | Middle East
Yemen 'admits' US blast was deliberate
15 Oct 00 | Middle East
Bodies of US sailors flown home
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Attractive base for anti-West Islamists
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Explosion hits UK Yemen embassy
19 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Yemen
13 Oct 00 | Africa
US closes African embassies
14 Jan 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Yemen: Arabia's 'Wild West'
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