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US official: Airstrike kills terrorist

The terrorist behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole is believed to have been killed in a US airstrike in Yemen, according to a US administration official.

Posted: Jan 5, 2019 5:35 PM
Updated: Jan 5, 2019 5:46 PM

The terrorist behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole is believed to have been killed in a US airstrike in Yemen on Tuesday, according to a US administration official.

Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi was an al Qaeda operative who the US believes helped orchestrate the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors.

The official said all intelligence indicators show al-Badawi was killed in a strike in Yemen as a result of a joint US military and intelligence operation.

US officials told CNN that the strike took place in Yemen's Ma'rib Governorate.

While US Central Command, which oversees military operations in the region, later confirmed that al-Badawi was targeted in a strike, a spokesman said the US was still assessing the results.

"US forces conducted a precision strike Jan. 1st in the Marib governate, Yemen, targeting Jamal al-Badawi, a legacy al Qaeda operative in Yemen involved in the USS Cole bombing," US Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, told CNN in a statement.

"US forces are still assessing the results of the strike following a deliberate process to confirm his death," he added.

The administration official said that al-Badawi was struck while driving alone in a vehicle and that the US assessed there was not any collateral damage.

Al-Badawi was on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

The Cole was attacked by suicide bombers in a small boat laden with explosives while in port in Aden, Yemen, for refueling. The attack also wounded 39 sailors.

The bombing was attributed to al Qaeda and foreshadowed the attack on the US less than one year later on September 11, 2001.

"Al-Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003, charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of US nationals and murder of US military personnel," Urban said.

Al-Badawi was arrested by Yemeni authorities in December of 2000 and held in connection with the Cole attack but he escaped from a prison in Yemen in April of 2003.

He was recaptured by Yemeni authorities in March of 2004 but again escaped Yemeni custody in February 2006 after he and several other inmates used broomsticks and pieces of a broken fan to dig an escape tunnel that led from the prison to a nearby mosque.

The State Department's Rewards for Justice Program had previously offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, an al Qaeda militant also seen as a key figure in the bombing, has been in US custody since 2002 and has been held at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2006.

US military prosecutors have charged al-Nashiri with murder for allegedly planning the attack on the USS Cole.

Al-Badawi is also not the first high profile al Qaeda target that the US has killed in Yemen.

US officials told CNN in August that a 2017 CIA drone strike in Yemen killed Ibrahim al-Asiri, a master al Qaeda bombmaker.

Al-Asiri, a native of Saudi Arabia, was the mastermind behind the "underwear bomb" attempt to detonate on a flight above the skies of Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

He was widely credited with perfecting miniaturized bombs with little or no metal content that could make it past some airport security screening. That ability made him a direct threat to the US, and some of his plots had come close to reaching their targets in the US.

The US has sought to prevent al Qaeda from exploiting the chaos of Yemen's civil war to establish a safe haven and the US military carried out 131 airstrikes in Yemen in 2017 and conducted 36 strikes in 2018, nearly all of them targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a terror group that both al-Asiri and Al-Badawi have been associated with.

The CIA has not revealed how many strikes it has carried out. CIA drone strikes are not publicly acknowledged.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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