Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Yemen Said Linked to Guns in Saudi Attack

AP Exclusive: AK-47s Used in Attack on U.S. Consulate in Saudi Arabia Linked to Yemen, Officials Say
Two AK-47 assault rifles used in a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia have been traced to Yemen's Defense Ministry, according to Western and Yemeni officials, raising new fears that the country isn't doing enough to fight terrorism.The revelation comes five years after al Qaida linked militants bombed the USS Cole destroyer on Oct. 12, 2000, at the port in Yemen, killing 17 sailors.In other worrying developments, Yemeni militants are believed to be among foreigners fighting U.S. led coalition forces in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials have said.Some Yemenis have even carried out suicide bombings in Iraq after their release from prison here under a government program, say Yemeni officials cited in local newspapers. Under the "dialogue" program Islamic fundamentalists are let go in exchange for renouncing violence.Despite the setbacks, the United States continues to boost its security relationship with Yemen. Last week, it delivered more boats and equipment to the country's coast guard ahead of Wednesday's fifth anniversary of the USS Cole attack. While U.S. officials publicly praise Yemen for curbing extremist groups, Western and Yemeni diplomats privately say it must do more to lock down its porous, 1,120 mile border with Saudi Arabia and prevent weapons and militant smuggling.
Yemen is awash with weapons, and strong ties exist between its military and tribal groups, which make up the backbone of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's power base.


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