Abdullah Al-Rimi (Arabic: ) (born in Yemen) became wanted in 2006, by the United States Department of Justice's FBI, "sought in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States." He was one of 23 people who escaped from Yemen prison in San'a, along with the Yemen cell leader, Fawaz Yahya al-Rabeei. Several weeks later he became listed on the FBI's third major "wanted" list, the FBI Seeking Information - War on Terrorism list. Very little else is known about him.
Aliases listed by the FBI: Awaiss, Owaiss, Uwayss, Zubayr Al-Rimi (possible)
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USS Cole bombing
On October 12, 2000, one year prior to 9/11, Yemen became an early theater in the War on Terrorism, when the USS Cole bombing killed 17 American sailors and wounded 40 off the port coast of Aden, Yemen. In the aftermath, the government of Yemen rounded up numerous suspected terrorists, many of whom were identified as members of al-Qaeda.
February 12, 2002 terror alert
In early 2002, according to an FBI report, as a result of US military operations in Afghanistan and of on-going interviews of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, information became available on February 11, 2002 regarding threats to US interests which indicated that a planned attack may have been about to occur in the United States or against US interests in the country of Yemen on or around the next day, February 12, 2002.
In response, on February 11, 2002, 17 suspected terrorists were added by the FBI to the "Seeking Information" list.
On February 14, 2002, several days after the FBI alert, six of the names were removed, and the FBI re-published the list as only eleven names and photos, because it was discovered that confusion over transliteration had failed to reveal initially that the removed six wanted terrorists were already in prison in Yemen.
2002 Yemen attacks and plots
Whether foiled, aborted, or merely incorrect specific intelligence, the February 12, 2002 attack never occurred. However, other attacks and plots in Yemen soon followed.
In April 2002, there was the detonation of explosives at a civil aviation authority building in Yemen.
There was also an unsuccessful plot that year to kill the United States Ambassador in Yemen.
In October 2002, two suicide bombers rammed an explosive-laden boat into the Limburg, a French oil tanker, killing a Bulgarian crew member and spilling 90,000 barrels (14,000 m3) of oil into the Gulf of Aden. This operation was very similar to the attack on the American destroyer USS Cole two years earlier. Saudi born Abdulraheem al-Nashiri, prime suspect of the USS Cole bombing (currently in the US custody), paid $40,000 to fund the Limburg attack. With that money, the former Al Qaida leader Abu Ali al-Harithi bought the explosives and transported them from his house in Shabwa to Mukalla in Hadramut. Later in 2002, Al-Harithi was killed by the CIA with a missile fired from a Predator drone.
And then after the Limburg attack, there was an attack on a helicopter carrying Hunt Oil Co. employees in Yemen in November 2002.
After many of the suspects in those plots and attacks were caught, trials began May 29, 2004 and centered on the October 2002 bombing of the Limburg.
Mass escape from Yemen
On February 3, 2006, 23 people, 12 of them al-Qaeda members, escaped from a Yemeni jail in San'a, according to a BBC report. They reportedly escaped by digging a tunnel, 140 meters, to a nearby mosque.
On February 23, 2006 the U.S. FBI confirmed the escape, as they issued a national Press Release naming some of the escapees as new FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, and also fellow escapee Abdullah Al-Rimi as a new addition to the "Seeking Information" list. He was being sought for questioning relating to any knowledge he might have of the 2000 USS Cole bombing.
With Al-Rimi as the one addition to the list on February 23, 2006 the total count on the outstanding Seeking Information list stood at eight.
- FBI Most Wanted Terrorists Seeking Information 2-11-02, (dead link)
- FBI Most Wanted Terrorists Seeking Information 2-14-02, revision by FBI removed 6 Yemen prisoners' names from the list (dead link)
- Hunt on for Yemeni jailbreakers, BBC, February 4, 2006
- Recent Escapees From Yemen Prison Added to Most Wanted Terrorists and Seeking Information - War on Terrorism Lists, FBI national Press Release, February 23, 2006