Gunfight in al Mukalla Two security officials killed [Archives:2002/52/Local News]

December 23 2002

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) – Yemeni security forces battled suspected al-Qaeda members holed up in a building in a gunfight that left two policemen dead and four others wounded, a security official said.
Two suspected al-Qaeda members escaped after the battle in the port city of al-Mukalla. The official said they were believed to be Shaker bin Hamel and AbdelHakem Abdo, wanted by the government as suspects in the Oct. 6 attack on the French tanker Limburg, which killed a crew member. Police in al-Mukalla approached the three-story residential building after being tipped off that al-Qaeda members lived there, the official said on condition of anonymity.
A gunbattle ensued and at least six officers were wounded. Two of the officers later died in the hospital of their wounds. One was identified as Yahya al-Mashoaly.
Security forces cordoned off the building and set up checkpoints in the city, about 350 miles southeast of the capital, San`a, the official said.
The attack on the Limburg was carried out by an explosives-packed boat that was detonated next to the tanker’s hull. The damaged tanker discharged about 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Aden.
A similar attack on the destroyer USS Cole, in which 17 U.S. sailors were killed, was also blamed on al-Qaeda, the terror group blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has Yemeni origins.
Another Yemeni government official said Friday that authorities were expected to charge 10 people in the Limburg attack.
A French security team is in Yemen investigating the attack, the official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.