An American airstrike earlier this week targeted an al-Qaida operative accused of involvement in the attack nearly two decades ago on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.
The man targeted, Jamal al-Badawi, is wanted in the United States for his role in the Cole attack on Oct. 12, 2000. He was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in 2003 and charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of U.S. nationals and murder of U.S. military personnel.
“U.S. forces are still assessing the results of the strike following a deliberate process to confirm his death,” the spokesman for U.S. Central Command, Navy Capt. William Urban, said Friday.
Urban said the airstrike was conducted Jan. 1 in the governate of Marib, which is east of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.
The Cole, a guide-missile destroyer, was attacked by suicide bombers in an explosives-laden boat while refueling at the Yemeni port of Aden.
The stunning assault, which also wounded 39 aboard the ship, foreshadowed the more deadly attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 that launched the U.S. on wars in the Middle East that are still underway, including in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the airstrike killed al-Badawi.
“Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered 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,” Trump said in the tweet.
Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2019