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On its way to join the U.S. Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf last Oct. 12, the USS Cole stopped in the Yemen port of Aden to refuel. More than 40 minutes into fueling, a small boat that had pulled alongside the destroyer exploded, tearing a 40-by-60 foot hole in the Coles hull killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding 37.
From the beginning, U.S. and Yemeni officials pointed blame for the terrorist attack toward Jihadists, groups ideologically aligned with known terrorist (and one of the FBI's 10 most wanted criminals) Osama bin Laden.
Through both nations' police work and investigating, six suspects have been apprehended and are awaiting a public trial on charges of preparing the attack. Authorities concluded that up to four culprits probably fled Yemen shortly after the bombing. This group includes Yemen's prime suspect Mohammed Omar al-Harazi, with whom the suicide bombers were in contact.
Al-Harazi is considered an explosives expert and a "significant player" in Osama bin Laden's group. The Yemeni army official newspaper said he "played a major role in preparing, planning and training people who carried out the bombing." They said they believe al-Harazi and at least two other top figures in the plot fled to Afghanistan--bin Laden's sanctuary.
THE BIN LADEN CONNECTION
Throughout the investigation, the Osama bin Laden thread has been continuous. According to the Associated Press (AP), key suspect Jamal …