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Yemeni authorities have released 113 militants from the al-Qaida terrorist network -- including at least five once accused of involvement in the deadly bombing of the USS Cole -- after they recanted their extremist views, security officials said Thursday.

The militants once accused in the USS Cole bombing were later cleared. The 15 Yemeni militants convicted in August of involvement in the 2000 bombing, which killed 17 U.S. sailors, were not released.

The 113 men were released during the last two weeks after signing pledges not to carry out terrorist acts or criminal activities.

Last month, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said more than 1,800 convicts, including members of al-Qaida, would be released from prisons.

Yemen, ancestral home of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, is a tribal-dominated country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It long has been a haven for Islamic extremists and the scene of many terrorist attacks.

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