ADEN, Yemen (AP) -- Four men arrested over the past two days are being questioned about the fatal bombing of the USS Cole last month, sources close to the investigation said Monday.
The newest suspects were tracked down through phone records showing that the suspected bombers had been in contact with them, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
All four live in the southern port city of Aden, where the two suspected suicide bombers blew up a small boat filled with explosives alongside the Cole on Oct. 12 as it prepared to refuel. Seventeen Americans were killed.
Investigations have also revealed that officials in Lahej, a stronghold of the militant Islamic Jihad, provided the suspected bombers with government cars for use within Aden and between Aden and Lahej, 22 miles to the north.
The sources said the suspected bombers knew the officials from their time together fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The officials are believed to be affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, a group formed by veterans of the Afghan war, and had met several times with the suspected bombers since March, when preparations for the bombing are believed to have started.
According to the sources, the two men took their boat for a test ride in the harbor where the Cole was to dock, one month before the bombing. One of the fishermen who helped them take the boat down into the water is believed to have been an accomplice, the sources said.
The United States is pressing Yemeni authorities leading the probe to allow U.S. agents a greater role in the investigation.
A Yemeni official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday that authorities have turned down an American request to relay their questions to the detainees. He said that expanding the American role in the investigation is being discussed, but that his country's stand remains that the Americans cannot interrogate any Yemeni citizens.
There has been no credible claim of responsibility.
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