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Family connection between attacks on USS Cole and U.S. embassy
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is a family connection between a key suspect in the attack on the USS Cole and the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, CNN has learned.
U.S. and allied officials have told CNN the suicide bomber who caused extensive damage and casualties at the embassy was a cousin of a man considered a key suspect in the USS Cole investigation. Yemeni officials say the name of the Cole suspect is Mohammed Omar Al-Harazi -- though U.S. intelligence officials say he is known by at least two other names: Abdul Rahman Hussein Al-Nashari or Al-Nassir.
U.S. officials describe Al-Nashari, as they call him, as "a significant player" in the Al Queda group headed by the fugitive accused terrorist Osama bin Laden. Al-Nashari is said to be an explosives expert of Yemeni origin with Saudi citizenship. He is still at large.
The Yemeni Army official newspaper said the suspect "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." Al-Nashari's suspected involvement in the attack against the USS Cole is a key part of the case U.S. investigators are building that the attack may have been ordered by bin Laden.
Bin Laden and others face trial next month in New York in connection with the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1998. In the indictment, Al-Nashari's cousin -- the suicide bomber in Kenya -- is described with the name "Azzam."
The apparent family connection between the attack in Kenya two years ago and the more recent one against the Cole "is another indication," one official told CNN, that the bin Laden group was most likely behind the attack on the US warship.
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