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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 April 2019

US military confirms killing of plotter in Al Qaeda attack on USS Cole

Al Qaeda operative Jamal Al Badawi was hit in a precision strike in Yemen's Marib province

Jamal Al Badawi had a $5 million bounty on his head for his role in the USS Cole bombing. AFP
Jamal Al Badawi had a $5 million bounty on his head for his role in the USS Cole bombing. AFP

The US military has confirmed that one of the main plotters behind the Al Qaeda-led attack on USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 Americans was killed in an air strike in Yemen on Tuesday.

Officials had already said Jamal Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Badawi was the target in the January 1 air strike in Yemen's Marib governate but were investigating whether he had died.

In a tweet on Sunday, the US military's Central Command said Al Badawi's death in a "precision strike" was confirmed "following a deliberate assessment process".

Al Badawi was one of six people arrested over the October 12, 2000 attack in the port of Aden, the deadliest against an American naval ship since 1987. Another 39 US sailors were injured when two suicide bombers detonated a boat filled with explosives near the destroyer as it was refuelling.

US President Donald Trump announced the death of Al Badawi in a tweet sent hours before the CentCom confirmation, saying the military had "delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole".

Al Badawi was captured by Yemeni authorities in connection with the attack but escaped prison in April 2003. He was recaptured in March 2004 and sentenced to death later that year but broke free again in February 2006. During this period he spent time on the FBI most wanted list and carried a bounty of $5 million (Dh18.37m) on his head.

Al Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 and charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offences, including murder of US nationals and murder of US military personnel. Apart from his role in the USS Cole attack, in which he was said to have supplied boats and explosives, he is also charged with conspiring to attack a US Navy vessel in January 2000.

Another key suspect in the Cole attack, Abdel Rahim Al Nashiri remains incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.

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Updated: January 7, 2019 03:16 PM

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