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Yemen Hunting Man Who Fled Before CIA Hit

November 20, 2002|From Times Wire Services

SANA, Yemen — This country's security forces are looking for a suspected Al Qaeda member who narrowly escaped a missile attack by an unmanned CIA plane that killed six people this month, officials said Tuesday.

In the first apparent admission that Yemen consented to the strike, Interior Minister Rashid Alimi said, "This operation was carried out ... as part of security coordination and cooperation between Yemen and the United States."

Alimi also said in a statement carried by the state news agency Saba that a seventh Al Qaeda member left the car moments before it was hit by a missile in the province of Marib on Nov. 3. He did not identify the fugitive.

Yemeni opposition groups have criticized the attack and the government's previous silence about it.

The main target of the attack, Qaed Sinan Harithi, was a key suspect in the bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole in a Yemeni port in 2000, an attack that killed 17 American sailors. U.S. officials believe Harithi was killed.

Yemen's statement Tuesday identified four other men in the car.

The sixth man was earlier identified as Kamal Derwish, also known as Ahmed Hijazi, a U.S. citizen. U.S. officials have alleged that Derwish headed an Al Qaeda-linked group in Lackawanna, N.Y.

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