SAN'A, Yemen – Nine suspects in the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole (search) have been arrested, the government said Tuesday, including eight who escaped from jail last year.
Interior Minister Rashad al-Eleimi said authorities were closing in on two suspects still at large following their April jail break in the southern port city of Aden, a major embarrassment to the Yemeni government. The bombing in Aden killed 17 U.S. sailors and has been blamed on Usama bin Laden's (search) Al Qaeda (search) network.
Separately, Yemeni security officials said seven terror suspects were arrested in the last two days in the provinces of Aden and Abyan in the country's south. They did not provide their names.
But the ruling Congress party's Web site reported that Ali Mohammed Omar Sharbagy, one of two arrested in Abyan, was suspected of having connections to the attack on the U.S. destroyer.
Sharbagy is not among the 10 who broke out of jail last year.
Yemeni authorities, meanwhile, beefed up security around foreign embassies and government buildings in the capital San'a Tuesday.
A group affiliated with Al Qaeda, the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, which claimed responsibility for last week's bomb attacks in Spain, has threatened that Yemen will be its next target. The group reportedly said Yemeni authorities should be punished for detaining militants.
Yemen has allied itself with the U.S. war on terrorism, allowing American forces to train its military. The country, which long has tolerated Muslim extremists, is the ancestral homeland of bin Laden.
Officials in southern Abyan region, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the country's most-wanted man, Jamal al-Badawi, is still at large. He was charged in the United States last year with helping carry out the bombing.
Al-Eleimi, the interior minister, said the recapture of the eight suspects was the result of increased cooperation with Saudi Arabia.