Sneak Attack

A terrorist bombing in Yemen kills 17 U.S. sailors and raises questions about America's vulnerability

The 300 men and women aboard the U.S.S. Cole had been at sea for two uneventful months when their vessel arrived in the Yemen harbor of Aden last Thursday. Unrest in the region and the Cole's upcoming six-month mission with the Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, where it would enforce the international oil embargo against Iraq, had upgraded the ship's Threatcon to "bravo," the Navy's second-highest state of alert. So as the Cole steamed into Aden harbor just before noon, maneuvering close to an offshore mooring station where it would refuel, crew members were on deck, armed and at...

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