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New Information Revealed on USS Cole Bombing Suspect

Aired December 12, 2000 - 2:38 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The heavily damaged USS Cole is set to arrive tomorrow in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship will be in port for repairs for about a year.

CNN national security correspondent David Ensor has some new information on the terrorist attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that there is a family connection between the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and the attack on the USS Cole. U.S. and allied officials tell CNN the suicide bomber who caused extensive damage and casualties in Kenya was a cousin of the man now considered a key suspect in the Cole investigation.

Yemeni officials say the name of that Cole suspect is Mohammed Omar al-Harazi, though he is known by at least two other names by U.S. intelligence officials: Abdul Rahman Hussein al-Nashari and al-Nassir. U.S. officials describe the man they call al-Nashari as a significant player in the Al-Qaida group, headed by fugitive accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

Al-Nashari is said to be an explosives expert of Yemeni origin, though with Saudi Arabian citizenship. He is still at large. In the Yemeni army official newspaper, he is described as having played a major role in preparing, planning and training people who carried out the bombing. He gave them the money and necessary equipment for the attack, said the newspaper. Bin Laden, in absentia, along with others, faces trial next month in New York in connection with the two East Africa bombings of U.S. embassies.

In the indictment, the suicide bomber, al-Nashari's cousin, is described only as Azzam (ph).

(on camera): The apparent family connection between the two attacks is seen by one official as another indication that bin Laden's group was most likely behind the attack on the USS Cole. But Clinton administration officials say they are not ready yet to accuse bin Laden in connection with the attack on the warship.

David Ensor, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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