Yemeni Suspect Was Related to Sept. 11 Hijacker

A Yemeni man who blew himself up on Wednesday after local police closed in on him in the Yemeni capital of San'a was related to one of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Details of the suspects ties to terrorism came as Iran arrested 150 suspected Taliban and al Qaeda members, according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

In Yemen, a source in the office of President Ali Abdullah Saleh told ABCNEWS today that Sameer Mohammed Ahmed al-Hada was the brother-in-law of one of the hijackers on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

Yemeni security officials were watching al-Hada in recent times, the source said, because of his known close association with Khalid Almihdhar, a 26-year-old Saudi national who was one of the five hijackers on board United Airlines Flight 93.

According to The Associated Press, al-Hada was also related to one of the 17 men named in an FBI alert issued on Monday, warning of a possible terrorist attack in Yemen or the United States. But a U.S. government source did not provide the man's name.

ABCNEWS also confirmed today that five people on the FBI alert from Monday were already in custody in Yemen.

Al-Hada was the son of Ahmad Mohammad Ali al-Hada, a known al Qaeda operative, a U.S. official told The Associated Press today.

A day after al-Hada's death, U.S. and Yemeni investigators conducted a search of his house and seized two pistols, a mobile phone and other documents, which U.S. and Yemeni investigators were studying.

Suspects Detained After Crossing Border

In Iran today, the Iranian news agency reported that 150 suspected Taliban and al Qaeda infiltrators of Arab and African descent, some of them carrying French, British, Belgian, Spanish and Dutch passports, were detained after they crossed the border from Pakistan.

It said the investigation was launched to look into the identities of the detainees and their possible links to terrorist organizations.

Today's arrests came amid U.S. concerns that Iran was granting refuge to fleeing al Qaeda members. In a January address to the nation, President Bush placed Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, on an "axis of evil," a statement that was roundly condemned by the Iranian government.

Flares Sent Up at Kandahar Base

A day after attackers opened fire on a U.S. base in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, lightly wounding two U.S. soldiers.

Flares were fired up on the perimeters of the U.S. base in Kandahar today to illuminate the area. The base, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan, has periodically come under small arms fire in the past from pockets of al Qaeda and Taliban resistance.

A spokesman from U.S. Central Command told ABCNEWS that one of flares hit some arid ground outside the base and a small fire broke out.

The fire followed a mishap at the Bagram Air Base near the capital of Kabul on Wednesday, when a U.S. soldier was killed when a piece of heavy industrial equipment that he was operating fell on him.

He was transferred to a medical facility for surgery and pronounced dead about 7:30 a.m. ET, the U.S. military's Central Command said.

The soldier's name was withheld pending notification of next of kin.

New Gardez Governor Welcomed

Meanwhile, in the eastern Afghan town of Gardez today, residents welcomed the arrival of a new governor appointed by Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai.

Taj Mohammad Wardak was appointed governor after fighting broke out last month when a local warlord, Bacha Khan, laid claim to the governorship.

More than 60 people were killed in what was seen as Karzai's biggest administrative and security challenge since he took power in December.

The security situation in Afghanistan continues to concern the international community as a former mujahideen commander, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, indicated he was ready to leave Iran — where he has lived in exile since the Taliban came to power — and head back to Afghanistan.

Hekmatyar has publicly criticized the Karzai administration in recent days, calling it "a stooge of the Americans." Following his remarks, Iran closed down the offices of his Hezb-e-Islami party and threatened to expel him.

A spokesman for Hekmatyar in Pakistan said today the former warlord would return to Afghanistan and not go to Pakistan, which was one of his chief backers in the 1990s before he fell out of favor with Islamabad.

Residents of Kabul hold Hekmatyar responsible for reducing the capital to rubble during pitched battles for power before the Taliban swept in in 1996.

In another development, all flights to and from Kabul's international airport were canceled today after a mob angry over flight delays attacked and killed Afghanistan's interim transport minister, reported Arabic satellite television channel Al Jazeera.

The mob was mostly made up of Muslims waiting to make the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, who must arrive in Saudi Arabia by Sunday.

ABCNEWS' Terry Moran in Washington contributed to this report.

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