Former presidential worker among five on FBI terror-alert list now detained in Yemen Al-Hada linked to Cole, US embassies bombing [Archives:2002/08/Front Page]

February 18 2002

SANAA Reliable sources confirm that Sameer Ahmed Mohamed al-Hada, who blew himself up Wednesday, is connected with the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole, as well as two major al-Qaeda members: Abu Ali al-Harithi and Abu Asem al-Ahdal.
Security sources say al-Hadas family also has extensive ties to terrorism, and that he has contact with other terrorists.
Conflicting reports
There are conflicting reports of possible family connections.
It has been reported that one of his sisters was married to one of the suspected September 11 hijackers who piloted an American Airlines jet into the Pentagon, Khaled al-Mihdar. In the meantime, the Yemen Times has been told, al-Hada, in fact, has no sisters as reported by some media.
Sources also told YT that his contact with al-Mihdar during the attacks on the US embassies in Niroubi and Dar al-Salam in 1998 was monitored.
Its been reported also that another sister of the 25-year-old al-Hada is married to Mustafa Abdulqader al-Ansari, whose name also appeared on an FBI terrorist alert last Monday.
He belongs to the group headed by Fawaz Yehia al-Rabeei, believed to have been planning terrorist acts against US interests in Yemen earlier this month.
A US official said, al-Hada is the son of a a man believed to be prominent in al-Qaeda.
Grenade went off
Sameer al-Hada blew himself up with a grenade late Wednesday as security forces closed in on him in a house in Sanaas Madbah Zone, following a gunfight.
The suspect had jumped into a taxi, and as security men tried to stop the vehicle, he pulled out a grenade. It exploded in his hand, killing him instantly, as he tried to throw it.
A police statement described al-Hada as one of the most dangerous on a list of al-Qaeda members that the US had given Yemen.
Name not on list
But his name did not show up in FBI terror alert list released Monday. Sources say the police could arrest two of his associates who were in his hideout, along with a a woman.
Yemen has tightened security around US interests, including the US embassy, diplomat residents, and other companies, after a terror alert Monday warned US interests might be targeted in Yemen.
The FBI said the uncorroborated threat came from information discovered in Afghanistan, where the U.S. military has been sifting through material left by al-Qaeda members now held at the U.S Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
But the US officials did not know the target or how the suspected plot would be carried out. Yemen said it had taken the information seriously and tightened security measures around US interests.
The sources said that Fawas al-Rabeei might come from Afghanistan and carry out the attack.
al-Rabeei was born in Saudi Arabia in 1979 and has a number of aliases, as well as 16 of his known associates.
His current whereabouts are still unknown, and he may be dead, the FBI said in its alert.
Yemeni official sources said al-Rabeei has a criminal record, and was involved in plans to kidnap foreigners. He used to rent cars and then sell them and is wanted in connection of making fake passports.
The sources said his real name is Fawaz al-Burae, 24, born in Burae in Hodeidah, west Yemen. He left Yemen in 2000 after completing a two-year term in jail.
He worked at he president office until 1994. Yemeni official sources said five of the FBI terror alert lists are already being detained in Yemen prisons on charges of car theft. They are Isam Ahmad Dibwan al-Mikhlafi, Ahmed al-Khder, al-Baidhani, Basheer Ali Naser al-Shadahi, Abdulaziz Mohammed bin Atash, and Shuhour Abdullah al-Sabri. Al-Mikhlafi and Al-Khader were sentenced in 1999 to eight years in jail each, while the others are being detained at the Yemeni intelligence office. The FBI has dropped their names and photos out form its website.