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CNN BREAKING NEWS

U.S. Missile Killed Al Qaeda Operative in Yemen, Sources Say

Aired November 4, 2002 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOOODRUFF: We want to update you on breaking news in the war on terror. Here our now our national security correspondent David Ensor in Washington -- David.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Judy, knowledgeable sources tell CNN that the blast that exploded in Yemen today, blowing up a car there and killing six men, including a top al Qaeda operative was caused by the firing of a U.S. missile. That car was fired upon by the U.S.

Now, one of the people who was killed in that car is considered to be -- this is a picture, we believe, is the man Abu Ali Al-Harifi (ph). He's a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, considered to be the most senior man in Yemen of al Qaeda and one of the top 15 or so leaders in al Qaeda. Very, very high on the list of people that the U.S. has been seeking ever since September 11. He's not a suspect in September 11 itself, although he is thought to have been associated with those who attacked the "USS Cole" when it was just off the coast of Yemen refueling.

So this is a major win for U.S. counterintelligence, and -- I should stress, however, that U.S. Intelligence and Defense department officials are declining any comment on whether or not the U.S. was involved, but I do have knowledgeable sources confirming to me it was a U.S. missile that took out this car and killed Abu Ali Al-Harifi (ph) -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Ensor with a little more information, now that he does have the -- David, now that you do you have confirmation, but as you say, not official comments from the government. Thanks David. And we know if there are further developments, we'll come back to you. Appreciate it.

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