Able Danger Blog

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cole mastermind escapes

You've probably heard by now, but if you missed it:

Thirteen al Qaeda militants convicted in the attacks on the U.S. warship Cole and the French supertanker Limburg in Yemen were among 23 men who broke out of jail in Sanaa, a state-run Web site said on Saturday.

The September 26 site ( quoted unnamed sources saying the 13 convicts included top militants Jamal Badawi and Fawaz al-Rabe'ie, who managed to flee the central prison by digging a 70-metre-long tunnel.

Rabe'ie -- the leader of the group convicted of bombing the Limburg in 2002 -- was facing the death sentence, while Badawi was serving 15 years in jail for the bombing of the Cole in 2000 after his sentence was commuted from the death penalty.

Badawi had escaped from prison in Aden in 2003 but was later arrested and sent back to prison, the Web site said.

Here are some more details on Badawi:

A man convicted of masterminding the attack on the American destroyer Cole in 2000 escaped a Yemeni jail through a tunnel with 22 other prisoners, the international police organization, Interpol, said today.

The prisoner, Jamal Ahmed Badawi, was sentenced to death in 2004 by a court in Yemen for his role in the attack on the warship that killed 17 American sailors and provided an early glimpse of the workings of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda global terror network. The Interpol statement said that 12 of the prisoners who escaped through the tunnel with Mr. Badawi were convicted members of Al Qaeda.

Yemeni officials also confirmed to Interpol that a man responsible for the attack on the French tanker Limburg in 2002, Fawaz al-Rabeei, was among those who escaped.