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Yemen arrests 'al Qaeda figure'

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(CNN) -- A top al Qaeda operative that U.S. authorities have linked to the USS Cole attack, surrendered after a shoot-out with Yemeni security forces, according to Yemen's Interior Ministry.

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Abdul Raouf Nassib and another suspect were arrested Wednesday in the southern mountains of Abyan province, the ministry said. The identity of the second suspect is under investigation.

Nassib was one of seven suspects connected to the USS Cole bombing -- including suspected ringleader Ali Qaed al-Harithi -- that has escaped U.S. custody.

The United States blames Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network for the October 12, 2000, attack on the Cole, a guided-missile destroyer that was rammed by a dinghy packed with explosives during a refueling stop in Aden. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the attack.

-- CNN's Caroline Faraj contributed to this report

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