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Bomb Explodes at Yemeni Court That Tried Al Qaeda Suspect

A bomb exploded in a Yemeni court on Wednesday, wounding several people in the same place where a suspected Al Qaeda (search) militant was condemned to death last week for killing three U.S. missionaries, security officials said.

The explosion ripped through the courtroom in Jibla (search), 125 miles south of the Yemeni capital of San'a, officials said.

Police said a judge was injured. Witnesses said they saw victims being taken away in ambulances. It was not immediately clear if anybody was killed.

Security officials surrounded the court building Wednesday and cordoned it off. Police said they detained a man in connection with the explosion.

On Saturday, the court condemned to death Abed Abdul Razak Kamel (search), 30, after convicting him of the Dec. 30 shooting deaths of Kathleen A. Gariety of Wauwatosa, Wis., Martha C. Myers of Montgomery, Ala., and William E. Koehn of Kansas. The killings took place at the Southern Baptist-run hospital in Jibla.

Yemeni security officials have said they believe Kamel belonged to a terror cell linked to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.

Kamel testified that on the day of the shootings, he walked into the hospital with a semiautomatic rifle hidden under his clothes and opened fire on a staff meeting involving the Americans, firing two shots at each target.

He told the court he killed the missionaries "out of a religious duty ... and in revenge from those who converted Muslims from their religion and made them unbelievers."

Jibla residents have said the Americans never discussed religion. Yemeni law prohibits non-Muslims from proselytizing in this overwhelmingly Muslim country.

Yemeni security officials have said audiotapes bearing the voice of bin Laden had been found at Kamel's house. Police believe Kamel was part of a group plotting attacks against at least eight targets, including foreigners and Yemeni politicians.

Bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, but his family comes from Yemen. U.S. officials believe a number of terrorist attacks in Yemen, notably the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden in October 2000, were carried out by Al Qaeda.

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the USS Cole attack. Ten key suspects in that attack escaped a prison April 11 and remain at large.

Yemen supports the U.S. campaign against terror.