Sanaa, Jan. 2 (Reuters): The Yemeni gunman who killed three US missionaries this week has confessed to meeting suspected al Qaida members, including a suicide bomber who attacked the USS Cole, a state-run Yemeni newspaper said today.
The September 26 weekly said Abed Abdel Razzak Kamel told police he joined Yemen’s militant Islamic Jihad group in 1997 after he met the man who three years later took part in the attack that killed 17 US sailors on board the US destroyer in Aden harbour.
“Kamel also admitted to knowing other suspected al Qaida members,” the newspaper added. “He also told interrogators to kill him since he was going to go to heaven anyway.”
Kamel told police he shot dead an American doctor and two American administrators at a Baptist clinic in the southern town of Jibla.
An American pharmacist was also wounded in Monday’s attack. Yemen described Kamel as an “Islamic extremist”.
Officials said today a nationwide manhunt after the shootings had led to a number of arrests, including some at the private al-Iman (Faith) University in Sanaa, which is widely seen to be influenced by radical Islamists.