Planner of USS Cole bombing attack escapes Yemen prison
An al-Qaeda member sentenced to death for plotting the USS Cole bombing attack that killed 17 sailors in 2000 was among a group of convicts who escaped from a Yemen prison last week, Interpol said Sunday in issuing a global security alert.
According to the AP, Yemeni security forces set up checkpoints around the capital of Sana'a, where the prison was located, to try to catch the escapees.
Yemeni officials said Jamal al-Badawi - a man convicted of plotting, preparing and helping carry out the Cole bombing - was among the fugitives, Interpol said. Al-Badawi was among those sentenced to death in September 2004 for plotting the attack.
A Yemeni security official announced the escape of convicted al-Qaeda operatives Friday but did not provide any names. Interpol said in a statement that at least 13 of the 23 escapees were convicted al-Qaeda fighters.
The convicts escaped via a 140-yard-long tunnel "dug by the prisoners and coconspirators outside," Interpol said.