Eight others on hit-list Probing murders [Archives:2003/01/Front Page]

January 6 2003

SANAA – As many as 30 men are in custody in connection with Monday’s killing of three U.S. aid workers at the Jibla Baptist Hospital.
A security source, who refused to be identified, told United Press International that many of them have ties to Abed Abdel Razeq Kamel, who is already in custody on suspicion of shooting the three American aid workers who worked at the Jibla Baptist Hospital.
Kamel was moved Friday under tight security from Jibla to Sana’a where he will face more questioning, security officials said.
The source said they were among scores of known Islamist militants arrested in a series of police raids that began Monday night shortly after the shootings.
He did not specify the number of detainees but said most of them are “mosque preachers from various parts of Yemen, and they are accused of giving provocative sermons” during Friday prayers.
The source also said a team of U.S. investigators arrived in Yemen this week to join the investigation into the killings of Dr. Martha Myers, 57, hospital administrator William Koehn, 60, and Kathy Gariety, purchasing agent.
Koehn and Myers were buried Tuesday according to their wills on the hospital’s grounds in Jibla, while Gariety’s body was flown this week back to her United States home.
U.S. government officials have said that if Kamel was connected with any known Islamic terror group they were not aware of it.
However, the Yemeni authorities Tuesday identified Kamel as a member of a five-man cell, which, they said, was planning similar attacks on Yemeni political figures, foreigners, journalists and moderate Muslims they consider infidels.
It’s been reported that there are eight targets on a hit list of the cell.
Another member of the group, Ali Jarallah was also under arrest in connection with the assassination last week of leftist opposition leader Jarallah Omar, the Yemeni Socialist Party’s deputy secretary-general.
It’s been reported that both the detained men are members of the religious al-Imam university in Sana’a.
Meanwhile, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets to take part in Omar’s funeral. But tight security measures prevented a large number of them from reaching the cemetery where he was buried.
The mourners carried placards that read: “No to political crime. No to terrorism and extremism” and “We want Yemen free of terrorism.”
Many Islamic clerics have denounced the Yemeni government’s cooperation with the United States in the war against terrorism.
When CIA agents used an unmanned plane to destroy a car carrying local al Qaida leaders, clerics denounced the action in their Friday sermons in the mosques. They said the government had acted unconstitutionally in permitting the CIA to operate in Yemen.
Yemen Times Ibb correspondent Ibrahim Al-Dahhan met with the governor General Ali Bin Ali Al-Qaisi and asked him about the motives behind the Jibla murders.
Al Qaisi said, “The criminal was residing the night of the crime at Aden Hotel. He travelled especially from Sana’a to Jibla in order to kill the Americans and ‘purify’ the place from them.”
He was known to be influenced by the preachings of Ali Jar Allah, the man who killed Jar Allah Omar in the Reform Party Conference. In fact, the later coordinated with Aabid Mohammed that he would kill the American Christians in Jibla, added al-Qaisi.
Aabid had earlier lived with his family in Jibla and came to know the hospital and its staff. He had tried many times earlier to commit his crime but only this time he was successful, according to the governor.
His identity card issued from Raidah, stated that he is a worker and lived in Omar Abdul Aziz Street in Sana’a. he had joined the Reform Party in 1990 and went out in 1998 when he joined Al-Jihad Group through Ibrahim Al-Thaowra, who was killed either in Afghanistan or in the American ship (Koal) incident and does not have any link with Al-Iman University.
The murder suspect declared that dozens of Muslims have converted to Christianity in Jibla because of the workers, and he was pleased with his crime, saying that it was his way to heaven and that particular day when he did his mission he was keeping fast.
While being investigated he was repeating “Al Hamdu lila, Sawfa Amoot Shahedan wa adkhulo aljanna,” which means ‘Thanks to God, I will die a martyr and go to heaven. And when he was questioned about his relation to the murder of Jar Alla Omar, he angrily replied that Jar Alla Omar does not deserve to be called ‘Sir’!
A high level source which is part of the investigation said that he entered the hospital after he had shaved his beard in disguise, and did not wear any belt so as not to attract doubts or attention.
It’s been reported he carried a gun under his cloak as if it was a baby, and got past guards by telling them he was visiting the hospital to see a sick relative.
He killed his three victims by shooting them in the head while they were in an early morning business meeting.