WASHINGTON: American airstrikes in Yemen killed a top al-Qaeda leader responsible for the deadly USS Cole bombing in 2000 in which 17 US sailors had lost their lives, the Pentagon said.
Seventeen American sailors were killed and at least 40 others injured in the terrorist attack on the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Cole on October 12, 2000, while it was being refuelled in Yemen’s Aden harbour.
Jamal al-Badawi, a “legacy al-Qaeda operative in Yemen” involved in the USS Cole bombing, was wanted by the US for his role in the attack.
Spokesman of the US Central Command Capt Bill Urban said: “Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a precision strike in Marib governate on January 1″.
“US forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process,” Urban said.
US President Donald Trump praised the US military for “delivering justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole”.
“We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al-Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!” the president said.
Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003, charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of US nationals and murder of US military personnel.
Badawi was also charged with attempting with co-conspirators to attack a US Navy vessel in January 2000.