Masterminds of USS Cole and Limburg bombings escape from Yemeni prison

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Picture of USS Cole bombing mastermind, Jamal Ahmed Badawi

Among 23 militants that broke out of a jail in Sanaá, the capital of Yemen, were 13 Al-Qaeda members, two of which were convicted for the bombings of the USS Cole and the French supertanker Limburg, said Interpol.

Interpol released a "urgent global security alert" after the men escaped. The alert calls the escapees "dangerous individuals."

Interpol's Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in the alert that at least 13 of the 23 men were, "convicted al Qaeda terrorists, some of whom were involved in attacks on U.S. and French ships in 2000 and 2002. Their escape cannot be considered an internal problem for Yemen alone. Unless Interpol Red Notices are issued urgently for these fugitives and unless the world community commits itself to tracking them down, they will be able to travel internationally, to elude detection and to engage in future terrorist activity."

Noble also added that "Al Qaeda terrorists have been deemed a serious threat to the entire world community by the U.N. Security Council, by Interpol and by a wide range of countries."

FBI photo of Fawaz Yahya Al-Rabeei, leader of the group responsible for the Limburg explosion.

Noble said that he issued the alert himself because, "the escape and unknown whereabouts of Al-Qaeda terrorists constituted a clear and present danger to all countries."

Reports also say among the escapees are top militants Jamal Ahmed Badawi and Fawaz Yahya Al-Rabeei.

Interpol says the men had escaped by digging a 220-foot long tunnel which took them to a mosque.

Rabeie is the leader of the group responsible for the Limburg explosion in 2002 which killed one Bulgarian crew member, injured 12 others and spilled 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden. He was facing the death penalty.

Badawi was serving a 15 year sentence for the bombing of the Cole in 2000 which killed 17 sailors. He was sentenced in May of 2003. After his sentencing Badawi declared, "This is an unjust verdict, this is an American verdict. There are no human rights in the world, except for the Americans. All the Muslims in the world are being used to serve American interests."

Terrorists used an inflatable raft to carry out the attack on the Cole.

Additionally, reports suggest that Abu Assem al-Ahdal, a leading Al-Qaeda official in Yemen, may also be among those that have escaped.