Jamal al-Badawi: Trump says US strike killed militant behind deadly terror attack on USS Cole

President says US forces ‘delivered justice’ as he declares operative thought responsible for 2000 bombing dead

Tom Barnes
Sunday 06 January 2019 16:46
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2004: Jamal al-Badawi tells cameras 'Human rights are only for the Americans' whilst behind bars

An al-Qaeda militant who helped orchestrate the deadly bombing of the USS Cole has been killed in an airstrike, Donald Trump has said.

The president tweeted on Sunday to announce the death of Jamal Ahmad Mohammad al-Badawi, who was convicted of organising the attack on the US ship that killed 17 people in 2000.

“Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” Mr Trump wrote.

“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!”

US military officials had previously announced a “precision strike” targeting al-Badawi had been carried out in Yemen on Tuesday.

However, intelligence officers had initially been unable to confirm the militant had been killed in the attack.

Suicide bombers rammed the USS Cole with boats laden with explosives in the Yemeni port of Aden in October 2000, killing 17 people and wounding 39 others in what was the deadliest attack on a US naval vessel for more than a decade.

It is now viewed as one of a series of incidents, including the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which al-Qaeda began to flex its muscles in the lead-up to 9/11.

Jamal al-Badawi was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole

Al-Badawi was convicted of being involved in the plot and sentenced to death, but escaped from Yemeni prisons twice and was eventually placed on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, with a $5m (£4m) reward offered for information leading to his arrest.

Despite Mr Trump’s declaration the US had killed the “leader” of the USS Cole attack, several individuals have over time been considered the ringleader of the group that carried out the bombing.

US officials have previously described Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national currently being held at the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and Abu Ali al-Harithi, a militant killed a 2002 drone strike in Yemen, as the “mastermind” of the attack.

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Tawfiq bin Attash, another Guantanamo Bay detainee, has also been described by media outlets as the terror cell’s leader.

US security sources told CNN the strike that killed al-Badawi had taken place in Yemen’s Ma’rib Governorate.

It is thought the militant had been driving in a vehicle alone when he was targeted and the attack did not cause any collateral damage.

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