Key plotter in USS Cole attack may have been killed in Yemen

Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi

Modal Trigger Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al Badawi EPA

The FBI had placed Badawi on its most wanted list, offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

An American airstrike earlier this week targeted an al-Qaida operative accused of involvement in the attack almost two decades ago on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors, a US military spokesman said Friday.

Badawi had always been on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists and had been a high-profile figure in Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization behind the 9/11 attacks.

US forces conducted a precision airstrike targeting al-Badawi on January 1 in the Marib governorate, said Capt. Bill Urban, a Central Command spokesperson.

An American military spokesman says a US airstrike in Yemen targeted an al-Qaida operative accused of involvement in the attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors. This led the State Department to voice some misgivings about war-torn Yemen's ability to hold al-Qaeda prisoners. The official said there was no indication of collateral damage.

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The bombing of the USS Cole, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, occurred while the warship was refueling at the harbor of Aden.

Al-Badawi is wanted in the United States for his role in the October 12, 2000 attack on the Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.

"Jamal 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 USA military personnel", the statement said. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was later reduced to 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported. Al-badawi was indicted for the attack in 2003 but escaped twice from a prison in Yemen.

Al-Badawi's death in Tuesday's airstrike was also confirmed by Voice of America, citing a defense official.

Following his escape from prison in 2003, Badawi was captured by Yemeni authorities in March 2004 but CBS reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation as saying he managed to escape again in February 2006 after he and other inmates dug a tunnel that led from the prison to a nearby mosque.

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