Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. airstrike in Yemen kills al-Qaeda operative behind USS Cole bombing

U.S. airstrike in Yemen kills al-Qaeda operative behind USS Cole bombing

US intelligence indicates al-Badawi was killed Tuesday in an airstrike in Ma'rib Governorate, CNN reported, citing an anonymous Trump administration official.

USA officials believe a drone strike killed one of the terrorists behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

Al-Badawi was detained by Yemeni authorities in early 2003 but escaped from prison soon after. This led the State Department to voice some misgivings about war-torn Yemen's ability to hold al-Qaeda prisoners.

Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, confirmed the airstrike but said they were still working to confirm Al-Badawi's death.

Badawi, along with Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Abu Ali al-Harithi and Fahd al-Quso, were named by the incoming George W. Bush administration as conspirators who organized the attack on behalf of al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility.

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Al-Badawi also landed himself on the FBI's list of "Most Wanted Terrorists." The US says there was no collateral damage.

The Cole was attacked by suicide bombers in a small vessel packed with explosives while in port in Aden, Yemen, for refueling. The court upheld today one death sentence against an Al-Qaeda militant and commuted Badawi's sentence to 15 years in prison for the 2000 bombing of the U.S. navy destroyer Cole in Yemen.

Al-Badawi was charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of US nationals and murder of USA military personnel.

He was reportedly among those who orchestrated the attack on USS Cole in Yemen on October 12, 2000, which killed 17 people and wounded a further 39. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was later reduced to 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported. He was recaptured in March 2004, but again escaped in February 2006.

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