Going To Do,
Fox 'reports' below.
Hard to believe they forgot that the last time
Clinton vowed to
Death Tolls Rises, Investigators Look
The death toll in the apparent terrorist bombing of
the USS Cole rose to 17 Friday, the highest for an attack on the U.S. military
since the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia killed 17 Air Force troops.
Ten sailors had been missing. The Navy on Friday announced it did not expect to find them alive and said their families were being notified.
About 35 others were injured in the blast Thursday.
During the night the French Army flew 11 wounded Americans to Bouffard military hospital in Djibouti, the French Foreign Ministry said, adding that operations were performed on six who apparently were in serious condition.
The explosion is believed to have come from a small boat that pulled up alongside the 9,100-ton, 505-foot warship — which had docked to refuel in the Yemeni port of Aden — and set off a high-explosive charge. The hole created by the blast is 30 feet high and 40 feet wide, the Navy said.
U.S. Navy officials also said explosives experts who examined the ship's damaged hull have concluded that the blast came from an external source, adding to the evidence that the attack was a deliberate act. The experts were also trying to determine what type and strength of explosive could have ripped such a hole in the Cole's three-inch-thick steel hull.
"I have no reason to think this was anything but a senseless act of terrorism," said Adm. Vern Clark, the chief of naval operations.
'Deliberate Acts' Not Yet Finished
Early Friday, an explosion rocked the British Embassy 200 miles away in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. Windows shattered, but nobody was hurt. Britain's foreign secretary said a bomb may have been flung into embassy grounds; authorities were investigating.
The apparent attacks came as the Middle East peace process came to a screeching, violent halt. Israeli combat helicopters on Thursday rocketed Palestinian security and military targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in retaliation for the lynching of three Israeli soldiers. The situation was improving early Friday.
U.S. forces in the Middle East have been on a heightened state of alert in recent days because of the spiraling Israeli-Palestinian turmoil and considerable anti-American sentiment in the region. U.S. embassies in the region closed public operations until Monday.
Who Is Responsible?
It was unclear, however, who was behind the attack on the Cole. No one has officially claimed responsibility.
Yemeni police sources said without elaboration that a number of people had been detained for questioning. It was not clear whether any were suspects. Yemen has denied that terrorists were behind the attacks on the Cole and the British Embassy.
U.S. intelligence officials told Fox News they were examining a communiqué sent from a Yemeni Islamist group to a British Muslim leader that appears to claim responsibility. Both sender and recipient, the officials said, have ties to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi dissident who the United States suspects of masterminding the 1998 bombing of two U.S. Embassies in Africa.
Others under suspicion when terrorists strike include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Abu Nidal organization, but both have been relatively quiet lately. Hamas and the Iranian-backed Palestine Islamic Jihad group both have a presence in Yemen but are not known to have attacked Americans specifically.
"We will find out who is responsible and hold them accountable," President Clinton declared Thursday.
The State Department issued a worldwide alert, saying it was extremely concerned about the possibility of violence against U.S. citizens and interests.
The Cole attack was the first targeting the U.S. military in Yemen since the Pentagon pulled out all 100 American military personnel there in January 1993 after bombings outside the U.S. Embassy and at hotels where some Americans were staying. U.S. intelligence has blamed bin Laden's Al-Qaida organization for some of those incidents.
With its 350 crew members, the Cole was en route to the Persian Gulf to help catch ships smuggling goods in violation of the U.N. embargo against Iraq.
The United States has dispatched investigators, intelligence experts and diplomats to the site of the explosion, and the government of Yemen promised to cooperate.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report