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Al Qaeda terrorist behind USS Cole attack killed by US airstrike in Yemen

Air raid on rocket and arms depots in Jabal Nqm east of Sana'a, Yemen. May 11, 2015. (Ibrahem Qasim/Wikimedia Commons)
January 04, 2019

The terrorist responsible for the deaths of 17 U.S. sailors on the USS Cole in 2000 is believed to be dead this week.

A U.S. official told CNN on Friday that Al Qaeda terrorist Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi is believed to be dead after a U.S.-led airstrike on Yemen on Tuesday.

A predator drone reportedly struck Al-Badawi’s vehicle in an isolated attack as he was driving alone in the Ma’rib Governorate located in central Yemen.

Al-Badawi is believed to be the terrorist behind the Oct. 12, 2000 suicide bomber attack that struck the USS Cole as it refueled in a Yemen port. The attack claimed the lives of 17 sailors, and injured another 39.

It was the last major attack carried out by Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks the following year.

He was one of the top terror figures on the FBI’s most-wanted list, and the U.S. State Department had a $5 million reward offered for information that led to Al-Badawi’s arrest.

His charges included: “Murder and Conspiracy to Murder United States Nationals and United States Military Personnel; Conspiracy to Use and Using Weapon of Mass Destruction; Damaging and Destroying Government Properties and Defense Facilities; Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organization,” according to the FBI.

He was originally arrested by Yemeni authorities in December 2000 for the USS Cole attack, but escaped from a Yemen prison in April 2003. He was recaptured nearly a year later, but managed to escape again in February 2006.

Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, another Al Qaeda terrorist, was also a leading member in the USS Cole bombing. He was the first to be charged for the USS Cole attack, and has been in U.S. custody since 2002, awaiting trial at Guantanamo Bay since 2006.

The Yemen-based sect of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is considered the terrorist organization’s most lethal. It has been able to take advantage of the civil war in Yemen to hide amongst the chaos.

In 2017, the U.S. launched 131 airstrikes on AQAP targets in Yemen, and another 36 strikes in 2018.

Al-Badawi was believed to be hiding out with AQAP in central Yemen for years.