|SLUG: 2-268077 U-S Ship Attack (L Only)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=U-S SHIP ATTACK (L ONLY)
INTRO: The U-S Defense Department says the bodies of six more American sailors have been recovered from the crippled destroyer, U-S-S Cole, in Yemen. V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida reports 17 U-S sailors lost their lives in last week's apparent terrorist bombing of the ship in Aden harbor.
TEXT: The latest recoveries of bodies came as engineers continue to evaluate the damage caused by last week's blast and investigators continue to gather evidence linked to the apparent terrorist attack.
The explosion, believed to have been triggered by a small boat that pulled aside the Cole, tore a gaping hole in the side of the destroyer, nearly causing the billion-dollar vessel to sink. The U-S Navy has ruled out any accidental cause for the destruction.
The Navy has signed a contract with a Norwegian heavy-lift ship called the Blue Marlin, to carry the Cole to another port for repairs. That salvage operation is not expected to get under way for another two weeks.
In the meantime, the first two of three U-S amphibious assault ships carrying 21-hundred Marines have arrived in Aden, to provide additional support for the recovery operation and the ongoing criminal investigation.
Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, says some of the U-S personnel now staying in Aden may be moved to these ships for security reasons.
This is the site of a terrible attack that happened just a few days ago. We have moved both U-S security personnel in over the past several days and are getting wonderful cooperation from the government of Yemen as well and yet I certainly think it would be better to err on the side of caution in this case and it's felt by moving some of the footprint of the various American investigators, and salvage folks and what have you from hotels and other facilities ashore onto those naval vessels that we improve our security posture.
A memorial service for the victims of the bombing will be held Wednesday in Norfolk, Virginia, the home port of the U-S-S Cole. President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen are both expected to attend.