U.S. military officials have confirmed that a U.S. airstrike last week killed one of the alleged masterminds of the USS Cole bombing which killed 17 sailors in 2000.
"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 tweeted Sunday, adding that U.S. efforts against al-Qaida will continue. "We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!," he said.
U.S military officials said a precision U.S. airstrike in Yemen’s Marib governorate Tuesday targeted al-Badawi, one of six al-Qaida operatives convicted of the bombing and a fugitive on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list.
"Jamal al-Badawi was a legacy al Qaeda operative in Yemen involved in the USS Cole bombing. U.S. forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process," said a statement Sunday from the U.S. Central Command.
In October 2000, 17 American sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole died in a suicide bomb attack at Aden harbor. Dozens more sailors were wounded. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility.
Al-Badawi was arrested by Yemeni authorities in 2000, escaped from a prison in 2003, was recaptured by Yemeni authorities in 2004, and escaped again in 2006.
Al-Badawi was charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of U.S. nationals and murder of U.S. military personnel. In addition to his role in the bombing, he has been charged with attempting to attack a U.S. Navy vessel in January 2000.