Yemen: U.S. warship hit by bomb : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

A U.S. missile destroyer at anchor in Aden, Yemen was hit
Thursday by a bomb-laden rubber boat in what appears to be a
terrorist attack, killing four and injuring at least 30 people, the
U.S. Defense Department said.

The CNN television network said 16 people were missing.

Asia Briefs

-- spider (, October 12, 2000


Just thinking.

How deep is the water at this port. After looking at the damage pictures seems more like maybe a mine or torpedoe type puncture. maybe the small boat was just in the right spot at the wrong time.

Just thinking.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

Navy Says Blast Came From Outside October 13, 2000


AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) via NewsEdge Corporation - Navy bomb experts have determined without doubt that the explosion that tore through the warship USS Cole, killing 17, ` deliberate act, Adm. Vern Clark said Friday.

``I've said all along, from where I stand, in my view this was clearly a terrorist act,'' Clark, the chief of naval operations, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Navy officials said Friday that the 10 sailors still missing from the USS Cole are now presumed to have died. Seven bodies have been recovered. Officials said they expected to find more Friday.

``We don't want to destroy hope, but we don't want to create false hope, either,'' Clark said. Other Navy officials said the assumption is that the missing are dead, but there will be no formal change in their status until they are recovered, since the bodies are known to be inside the ship.

The Navy released the names of the 17 Friday. All but one are from the enlisted ranks. Two are women.

Navy officials also said explosives experts who examined the ship's damaged hull have concluded that the blast _ which created a hole 30 feet high and 40 feet wide at the ship's waterline _ came from an external source.

``There had been some talk that this was a blast internal to the ship; their conclusion is: no way,'' Clark said. ``Clearly it was a blast from outside.''

Clark said he was not aware whether the explosives experts reached any conclusions about the type or size of explosive used in the attack. ``It's going to take scientific dissection'' to make those determinations, he said.

The FBI legal attache from Cairo, Egypt, arrived in Yemen, a federal law enforcement official said Friday. An FBI assessment team left Washington on the 22-hour flight to Yemen; this group of about 10 agents will arrange transportation, a command center and security for the FBI forensic team. The FBI team of evidence and explosives experts numbering more than 100 was expected to leave no sooner than late Friday, the official said.

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Cate Mueller said families of the 10 missing sailors are being notified that they are presumed to have died in the explosion. Efforts to recover their remains are continuing, she said.

In addition to the seven confirmed dead and 10 missing, about 33 were injured in the blast Thursday. Lt. Cmdr. Daren Pelkie, a spokesman at 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, said Friday that 11 of the 33 had been flown to a French military medical facility in Djibouti, and the 22 others were being readied for transport to Germany.

Mueller said the Navy would release the names of the casualties when all families have been notified.

Clark, interviewed on NBC's ``Today,'' said all but three of the families of the dead and missing had been notified. ``The individuals we haven't located yet aren't home. They are traveling some place and that's the challenge for us.''

A death toll of 17 would be the highest for a terrorist attack on the American military since the bombing of the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996, which killed 17 Air Force troops.

Mueller said a team of Navy explosive ordnance disposal experts examined the damaged hull of the USS Cole and determined conclusively that the explosion was caused by an external source. It is believed to have come from a small boat that pulled up alongside the warship Thursday in the port of Aden and set off a high-explosive charge.

The conclusion reached by the explosives experts strengthens the belief that the incident was a terrorist act, officials said.

The divers who examined the hull now estimate that the hole created by the blast is 30 feet high and 40 feet wide, Mueller said. The initial estimate was 20 feet high and 40 feet wide.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

US orders Gulf fleet out to sea By Ian Brodie in Washington and Mike Theodoulou in Nicosia 14oct00

THE US yesterday ordered its navy ships in the Middle East to put to sea and ground forces to step up security after a suspected suicide bomb attack ripped through a naval destroyer killing six sailors and leaving another 11 still missing.

Thursday night's suicide mission on the USS Cole, which also left 35 US sailors injured, sent shockwaves throughout the US military in what appears to have been one of the most audacious terrorist attacks seen in the Middle East. US defence officials and witnesses reported seeing the two suicide bombers stand to attention and salute just moments before their craft exploded. Two Yemeni civilians were also injured in the blast.

"If, as it now appears, it was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act," President Bill Clinton said. "We will find out who was responsible, and hold them accountable.

"If their intention was to deter us from our mission of promoting peace and security in the Middle East, they will fail, utterly."

The inflatable craft blew a gaping hole along the waterline of the USS Cole as she was pulling in to refuel at the Yemeni port of Aden.

The destroyer's crew worked for hours yesterday to save their ship and their shipmates. The lower holds were flooded, power and communications knocked out and the destroyer took on a four-degree list.

There were fears it would sink but, eight hours after the incident, the Pentagon announced that the crippled ship had been saved.

There were no reports of fire, and flooding appeared to have been contained, but the USS Cole was listing to port with a gash along her hull 6m high and 12m wide.

The $1.4 billion 8600-tonne Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer with 346 crew, commissioned in 1996 and armed with cruise missiles, appeared to have fallen victim to a devastatingly simple attack, one that a leading defence expert described as "every warship captain's nightmare".

As FBI anti-terrorism investigators began arriving in Yemen yesterday, it was unclear who was behind the attack, and no one had yet taken responsibility.

US suspicion fell upon Osama bin Laden, the multi-millionaire Saudi- born terrorist who is known to have close links with the Islamic Army of Aden and Abyan, a group that has launched at least 20 bomb attacks in southern Yemen over the past three years. Mr bin Laden is understood to have family and commercial connections with the country.

Washington is convinced that Mr bin Laden masterminded the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa two years ago. Unable to capture him at his remote mountainside base in southern Afghanistan, the US has put a #3 million ($8.3 million) bounty on his head.

Anti-American sentiments have been running at fever pitch throughout much of the Arab world over Washington's support for Israel during two weeks of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has claimed at least 97 lives.

US embassies across the region have been the focus of angry protests by crowds that have ritually burned the Stars and Stripes.

The attack on the USS Cole came shortly after Israeli soldiers were lynched by a mob that broke into a police station in the West Bank town of Ramallah where the soldiers were being detained.

Pentagon officials in Washington said the dinghy appeared to be among a number of small vessels preparing to assist in mooring the warship at 12.15pm local time.

A Yemeni naval official insisted that the blast had not been caused by terrorists at all, adding: "Preliminary information indicates that the explosion happened inside the ship in the supplies section."

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh also said yesterday he doubted terrorism was the cause of the blast.

However, Lieutenant-Commander Daren Pelkie, spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said a US army officer clearly saw the inflatable ramming the USS Cole.

Asked if the explosion was deliberate, he said: "We don't know why a rubber raft would be carrying explosives."

The Cole was going to the Gulf to join a US naval operation to prevent Iraqi attempts to break UN oil sanctions.

After passing through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea four days ago, she was drawing into Aden to refuel.

Questions were being asked in Washington yesterday why she was in Aden for an unannounced refuelling as the port had previously been off-limits to US navy vessels.

The five-hour refuelling operation was known in advance by a number of people in Yemen.

John Warner, a former US Secretary of the Navy and Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, said the dinghy was part of a mooring team contracted to help US navy vessels in berthing in Aden harbour.

"This was not some odd craft out floating in the harbour," he said. He said that the US navy gave four or five days' notice to Yemeni authorities as to when one of its ships would be docking for refuelling, and in this case it gave someone time to have planned the operation.

"This magnitude of blast was not put together in a garage overnight," Mr Warner said.

Yemen is one of the poorest and most lawless Arab countries, where the number of guns outnumbers the population by three to one. Much of the country is beyond the control of the central Government, a "safe haven for terrorist groups", according to Washington. The US State Department's latest report on global terrorism said a wide range of militant Islamic groups had bases in Yemen, among them Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Times stralian

-- Martin Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

Expert says Cole was hit by inside-job terrorists

Friday, October 13, 2000

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- An author who specializes in military affairs and terrorism believes the USS Cole was targeted by terrorists with inside information.

"I have no doubt it was a terrorist attack and it had to be an inside job," Steve Tomajzcyk of Loudon said Thursday of the attack on the destroyer in Yemen.

"The Navy does not give out much information about movements of its warships and somebody had to know where and when it was being docked," he said.

The Navy, he added, has "a very effective, worldwide intelligence network," Antiterrorist Alert Center, designed to warn potential attacks against its warships, he said. The system, ATAC, Tomajzcyk, said, "apparently was not aware of this assault."

As for the ship, Tomajzcyk, who visited the Cole last year in Norfolk, Va., while doing research for his latest book, "Carrier Battlegroup," said the terrorists picked the least vulnerable destroyer.

"As horrible as the attack was, if it had been any other warship, it would have sunk with 350 people aboard, especially since it was hit next to the hull amidships," he said.

The Cole, he said, "is in a supersophisticated class of warships, other than submarines, built totally of steel."

The Navy, he said, after a disastrous 1975 collision between an aircraft carrier and a destroyer in the Mediterranean off Sicily, decided to build the new Arleigh Burke class of warship, which includes the Cole.

The collision between the carrier USS John Kennedy and the destroyer USS Belknap, made mostly of aluminum, collapsed the ship's superstructure, claiming four lives and 46 wounded, Tomajczyk said.

"That collision taught the Navy that aluminum and warships are a poor mix where safety is concerned," Tomajczyk said.

The Cole, he said, "is designed for better resistance against flying fragments, blasts and fires. And it has 130 tons of Kevlar armor- plating on all vital areas," he said.

"It's designed to take a direct hit in battle and keep on ticking," he said. 2.shtml

-- Martin Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

Yemens Deadly Appeal 0120 GMT, 001013

The suspected suicide bombing of a U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, in a Yemeni port early Thursday ignited numerous questions on the perpetrators of the attack and their motives and means. But pull back to a global view and a much more strategic question surfaces: What is the United States doing in Yemen?

The Navy only recently began using Aden Port as a refueling station, but Yemen is much more than a regional point of convenience. Indeed, Americas interest and involvement in Yemen appear to run much deeper than merely refueling military vessels. Yemen is a strategic pawn in a game with other major powers. And a small island 550 miles east of Yemen is a valuable military asset.

Isolated, torn by tribalism and desperately poor  Yemen is one of the poorest nations in the Middle East. But these facts obscure an important reality: Yemen is the center of a vigorous competition between some of the worlds major powers. Nations such as China, Russia and the United States are all competing for influence over the chokepoints of the worlds waterways.

Aden is one these and one of the most important. Its port is one of the deepest natural ports in the world, capable of serving large vessels with comparatively little improvement. In recent months, both Russian and American military officials have jockeyed for position in Aden. Russian officials, for example, have raised military cooperation with the Yemeni government. U.S. Navy SEALs have also helped clear the wreckage of sunken vessels from the port at Aden.

Why has so much global attention focused on this tiny country? More than its harbor, Yemen also provides an important military base from which naval forces can quickly reach the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The island of Socotra, with a population of 70,000, is perfectly placed for monitoring shipping routes in all three seas.

The U.S. Navy is supposed to ensure the flow of goods to and from the United States via shipping routes. Competition for major trade routes is stiff and Washington has recently lost key points of control to countries like China; in the Suez Canal, for instance, a Chinese company with ties to the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) has won important rights to facilities there. Near Socotra, much of the worlds oil floats by on tankers.

There is evidence as well to suggest that island, belonging to Yemen, is a potentially invaluable source for intelligence collection in the Indian Ocean, a basin with increased naval activity. The Indian navy, for example, has reportedly focused on expanding its capabilities and modernizing its technology. Socotra could be a valuable source of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).

In March 1999, the Village Voice reported Socotra as a site upon which the United States planned to build a SIGINT system. Over the past two years, reports have surfaced every few months in Yemeni opposition media claiming that Yemens administration had agreed to allow the U.S. military access to both a port and an airport on Socotra. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has consistently denied a deal with the U.S. military and his government has punished journalists who persist in reporting it.

The last instance of this to make it to the Western press occurred nearly one year ago, in October 1999, when the owner of the opposition daily Al-Haq was fined and the paper was banned for a month. The administration charged the paper with publishing material that threatened national security. The previous March, the same paper met similar consequences for running a story saying a new civilian airport built on Socotra to promote tourism had conveniently been constructed in accordance with U.S. military specifications.

The paper has ties to an umbrella group of Islamist politicians and activists, including the Islah Party. And there is clearly a backlash in Yemen against the global competition for use of its facilities. The attack on USS Cole was a simple, yet effective message: the ambitious goals of the U.S. military are not welcome.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 13, 2000.

Officer calls refueling stop at Aden port 'buffoonery' By Rowan Scarborough THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Military officers are privately questioning the decision to schedule a stop for the USS Cole at a fueling port in Yemen, a known safe haven for Arab terrorists for whom suicide bombings are trademarks. Top Stories  Suicide attack kills, wounds U.S. sailors  Israel hits West Bank and Gaza in retaliation  Oil prices skyrocket; Dow falls 379 points  Crises could hurt Gore  Clinton plans first-ever presidential trip to N. Korea

"I think it's buffoonery that a U.S. warship is refueling in Yemen while things are coming apart in Jerusalem," said a Marine Corps officer in Washington who has deployed to the Persian Gulf. "The place is a snake pit. I can't believe we are sending U.S. warships there, especially when there is so much unrest in the region." A senior retired Navy officer said, "As the force has been stretched too thin, it requires commanders to change some operational behavior, not always to the advantage of the United States Navy." The destroyer Cole's mission typifies how a busy Navy shifts assets to cover two theaters  the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. The Cole was part of a battle group led by the aircraft carrier George Washington and would normally be refueled at sea with its sister ships. But the Cole broke off from the group and was traveling alone through the Red Sea. U.S. Central Command, which oversees Gulf operations, wanted the Cole to replace a Tomahawk-missile-firing ship which was leaving the region. A Navy spokesman said battle groups often break up, sending ships to both theaters in response to tensions in the Balkans and the Gulf. The military's readiness woes have gone front and center in the presidential campaign. Republican George W. Bush argues that a decade of budget cuts and increased deployments have left the armed forces worn out and ill equipped. One issue is whether the Navy's 315-ship fleet is sufficient to carry out far-flung deployments in the Pacific, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and other hot spots. Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations, said at the Pentagon yesterday that the Navy is short on the type of oiler that can refuel the Cole and other warships at sea. "We do not have enough ships to assign one to  this ship was transiting independently  and we don't have enough resources to . . .," Adm. Clark said before cutting short his sentence. "Let me say today I have 101 ships in the United States Navy deployed to the four corners of the earth. Cole is one of those 101." Adm. Clark recently told the House and Senate Armed Services committees that the Navy is not building enough ships to maintain the current 315-ship fleet. Navy experts say ships are going to sea without critical working components and, in some cases, remaining deployed longer than the normal six months. Adm. Clark, the former Atlantic fleet commander, said the shortage of oilers  the Navy has 23 means a refueling ship has never been assigned to a single ship such as the Cole. "They don't have as many as they need for the pace of operations," said A.D. Baker III, a naval analyst. But Mr. Baker said the real issue is port security. For diplomatic reasons, the U.S. Navy does not provide adequate topside security as a ship enters a foreign harbor, he said. Pentagon officials say explosives, detonated by two men in small boat alongside the Cole, blew a huge hole in the destroyer's hull. Six sailors were killed, 11 more were missing and presumed dead, and 35 were injured. The Clinton-Gore administration inherited a fleet of more than 500 ships. In 1993, it announced a plan to shrink the armada to 346. But eventually, even that floor was breached as the defense budget tumbled during the 1990s. Pentagon officials said refueling stops in Yemen were started by U.S. Central Command in July 1999 as a way to establish strategic relations with a generally U.S.-friendly Yemeni government. The Cole's stop was the 12th for a U.S. warship. The administration is trying to maintain support among Gulf nations such as Yemen for its policy of isolating Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. Kenneth Katzman, a terrorism analyst at the Congressional Research Service, said Central Command officials have talked of prepositioning fuel and equipment in Yemen. "The Yemeni government has pledged, and by all accounts been extremely cooperative in attempting to prevent" Yemen-based terrorist attacks against the United States, he said. "They do not support acts of terrorism like this." Still, Mr. Katzman said there are parts of Yemen not fully controlled by the government. His report on international terrorism, along with the State Department's, states that while Yemen does not sponsor terrorism, it is a safe haven for terrorist groups. The Palestinian Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad both have official representatives in Yemen, and both groups have conducted suicide bombings. In addition, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Algerian Armed Islamic Group also have members and sympathizers in Yemen. "Lax and inefficient enforcement of security procedures and the government's inability to exercise authority over remote areas of the country continue to make the country a safe haven for terrorist groups," the State Department's current report on global terrorism said.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 14, 2000.

Yemenis Insist Accident Caused USS Cole Blast By Howard Schneider and Roberto Suro Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, October 15, 2000

ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 14  Yemeni political and military officials are continuing to insist that an on-board accident caused the explosion that killed as many as 17 servicemen aboard the USS Cole, an attitude that could hinder American efforts to interview Yemeni nationals who might have knowledge about what American officials consider a suicide bomb attack.

Investigation efforts intensified today with the arrival of a 40- person emergency team assembled from the FBI, defense and state departments, adding to the corps of criminal investigators and military and diplomatic personnel already brought in from Washington, U.S. embassies throughout the region, and from the Fifth Fleet naval base in Bahrain.

Divers have begun scouring the bottom of Aden's crescent-shaped port, while aid continued to be given to the crew.

U.S. naval officials here announced that an additional six crewmen of the Cole have been evacuated to Germany to treat post-traumatic stress symptoms.

As the American team continued its forensic probe, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih toured the port where the explosion occurred, accompanied by several of his military personnel, and also met with U.S. Ambassador Barbara K. Bodine.

In a late evening news broadcast Friday, the local naval commander insisted that the hole in the side of the Cole was too big to be caused by the type of incident U.S. officials describe  a small harbor craft, pulling next to the destroyer, laden with explosives. He also insisted that U.S. technology was so sophisticated that electronic sensors would have warned the crew of the dangerous load approaching.

Brig. Mohammed Ali Ibrahim, commander of the Aden naval base, insists the incident "was not carried out by someone outside, and likely was the result of a technical malfunction inside the warship."

Meanwhile, Salih, while pledging full cooperation with the American probe, referred to it in reported remarks as a "technical" matter only.

American officials have already concluded that the explosion came from outside the destroyer, and worry that local attempts to downplay the likelihood of terrorism could impede their need to interview Yemenis, particularly those on duty at the port when the explosion occurred.

Those who carried out the attack would have at least needed advance knowledge of the Cole's arrival for its four-hour refueling stop, and probably also information about the mooring procedures U.S. vessels have used in the 15 months they have relied on the Aden port for refueling.

The situation has raised concerns similar to those encountered when terrorists bombed an apartment complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996, killing 19 servicemen. Saudi officials limited the ability of U.S. personnel to conduct their own inquiry, and in the years since the U.S. has frequently complained about access to information about the probe which the Saudis conducted.

The 505-foot, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer came to this port on the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula for what was supposed to be a brief refueling stop while heading to the Persian Gulf to join the international fleet that polices United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Shortly after noon local time Thursday, a massive bomb exploded aboard a harbor workboat that had pretended to help the Cole moor at a refueling facility and then pulled alongside the warship.

In Washington, the first salvos were fired in what promises to be a vociferous debate over the wisdom of sending a Navy ship into a port known to harbor terrorists. As the State Department and the Pentagon pointed the finger at each other, congressional leaders called for a thorough investigation.

At the Pentagon, senior military officials said that specific threat assessments  compiled from reports by the State Department as well as military and civilian intelligence agencies  are conducted in advance of any port visit by a naval vessel in the Mideast. Aden was considered inherently dangerous enough that visits were limited to brief refueling stops. But U.S. warships had made 12 prior visits over the past 15 months without incident, and intelligence reports did not warn of any specific terrorist threat against the Cole, officials said.

"It is very clear to me that this was a very deliberate attack," Adm. Vernon Clark, chief of naval operations, told CBS News. "This kind of attack could not have been conducted without a great deal of planning and knowledge about what our movements were going to be and when the ship was going to arrive  all of the pieces that would make it possible for an attacker to come into proximity of the ship like they did."

The investigation initially will focus on searching the wreckage of the ship for any forensic evidence that could help identify the type and origins of the explosive that hit the Cole.

Navy divers examined the hull of the ship yesterday. While the overall structure appeared sound, they discovered that the hole ripped by the explosion was nearly twice the size originally estimated. With extensive damage now apparent below the waterline, the explosion is estimated to have torn open a hole 40 feet high by 40 feet wide in armored steel hull plates a half-inch thick.

Investigators will also work to identify the two men who were seen aboard the harbor workboat and who died in what appears to have been a suicide attack, officials in Washington said. The bombers appear to have infiltrated the harbor operations here, both to gain precise knowledge of when the Cole would arrive for a visit due to last only four hours and to gain access to the workboat that carried the bomb.

Bacon said Yemen's government has provided "very significant" assistance thus far to medical and security efforts as well as the opening phases of the FBI investigation.

Officials monitoring the investigation in Washington said they are hopeful but not optimistic that the Yemeni authorities will provide access to the workings of the harbor offices here. The State Department reported earlier this year that Yemen is "a safe haven for terrorist groups" because of "lax and inefficient enforcement of security procedures."

"It is not exactly in their self-interest to help us prove that their port facility was penetrated by terrorists," said a U.S. official.

With its deep waters, high surrounding hills and a strategic location between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, Aden has been an important port for 3,000 years. But from 1970 to 1990 Yemen was divided, and Aden was the capital of a Marxist-oriented state often in conflict with its neighbors, including the more pro-Western republic that controlled the northern part of the country. Investment started to flow back into the harbor only after Yemen's merger in 1990.

Near the spot where the Cole is docked, the lights of a new cargo facility glisten, representing an investment Yemen hoped would allow it to compete with Dubai for shipping between the Indian Ocean and the West. Fears about security, raised by the attack on the Cole, could derail that effort.

The port has been closed by the Yemeni government, barred to journalists and, according to U.S. officials, cleared of any ships near the American destroyer. A special anti-terrorism security force of U.S. Marines arrived to protect the Cole and patrolled its decks while Yemeni government boats ensured that no other vessels approached the destroyer.

In addition, two other Navy ves  the USS Hawes, a guided missile frigate, and the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer of the same class as the Cole  arrived in Aden yesterday to provide reinforcements for the Cole's crew as salvage work proceeds.

Beyond the effort to clear away twisted metal in damaged areas of the ship, ensuring that the Cole suffers no more damage requires a constant effort. With a major engine compartment flooded, sailors must constantly check and reinforce bulkheads and hatches that are suffering unusual strains, Navy officials said.

Sailors from the Cole have been offered an opportunity to ferry over to the other U.S. ships for food and rest, but a senior Navy official said that despite the dire conditions on the damaged ship, its crew is reluctant to leave it even for a few hours.

With the injured under medical care, the first of the dead began the journey home, landing at Germany's Ramstein Air Base in a light rain. An Air Force honor guard was on hand to place the flag-draped caskets into hearses as a phalanx of sailors in dress blues stood by.

A memorial service for the bombing victims is tentatively planned for Wednesday at the Norfolk Naval Station. President Clinton and Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen are expected to attend. Until the bodies of the 10 missing crew members are found, the Pentagon will not declare them dead.

However, when asked if the casualty toll had reached 17, Cohen said yesterday, "because of the nature of the blast and the severity of the damage done, that is the assumption we are operating under."

The bombing is the most deadly attack directed against U.S. military personnel since a 1996 attack against an apartment complex in Saudi Arabia that killed 19. Two years ago, simultaneous explosions ripped through the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, killing 12 Americans and hundreds of East Africans.

Schneider reported from Aden, Suro from Washington.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 14, 2000.

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