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Al-Qaida Terrorists At Large

The United States is working closely with the government of Yemen to recapture twenty-three convicted terrorists who escaped from a Yemeni prison in the town of Sanaa. The Yemeni government has made recapture of these dangerous men a top priority.

The escapees and their accomplices dug a one-hundred-forty-six meter tunnel under the high security prison to emerge in the women's section of a nearby mosque. At least thirteen of the escapees were members of the al-Qaida terrorist network, including Jamal Ahmed Badawi, chief of al-Qaida operations in the Persian Gulf and planner of the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Mr. Badawi was sentenced to death in September 2004 for orchestrating the suicide bombing of the Cole wile it was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and thirty-nine were wounded in that attack.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the jailbreak by these terrorists is a "real cause for concern":

"We are disappointed that this was able to happen, that these people managed to escape from prison. They are some dangerous people who have broken out of the prison. I know the Yemeni officials are seized with the matter, that they are working very hard to track down these individuals. . . .And certainly we think it is important that the Yemeni government make every effort to recapture these individuals, and if we are able to provide any assistance in doing that, we will."

The search for the escaped terrorists has become an international manhunt. Interpol, the international police agency, has issued an "international blue notice" for the escapees. This bulletin clears the way for other nations to detain the men without a formal arrest warrant.

As this prison escape shows, al-Qaida remains resourceful -- and dangerous. President George W. Bush says the U.S. and its allies will do whatever is necessary to destroy al-Qaida and its affiliated terrorist groups. "Our commitment is clear," he said. "We will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken, and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.