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Navy to mark 20th anniversary of USS Cole attack with moment of silence

Navy to mark 20th anniversary of USS Cole attack with moment of silence
The U.S. Navy has directed the fleet observe a moment of silence on the 20th anniversary of the Oct. 12, 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole that resulted in the deaths of 17 sailors. File Photo by U.S. Navy/UPI

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has directed the fleet to observe a moment of silence on Oct.12 to honor 17 sailors killed, and 37 injured, in a 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole.

The moment of silence will be observed at all U.S. Navy installations around the world, Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said in a message to the fleet this week.

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"At 11:18 a.m., local time, on Oct. 12, 2000, the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole was the target of a suicide attack by terrorists during a routine refueling stop in Yemen's Aden Harbor," Gilday said. "[The blast] tore a 40-by-60 foot hole in the ship's hull. The crew of Cole fought valiantly for more than 96 hours to save their ship and shipmates."

It was later determined that the explosion was conducted by the Islamist al-Qaida Islamist organization.

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A 2014 U.S. court ruled that longtime Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir provided key aid to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden before the attack, and ordered $35 million in restitution to the victims' families. The decision was dismissed in 2019 because it had not been properly initiated in 2010.

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Bashir was ousted by the military in 2019 and the Sudanese interim government said it was willing to compensate the victims' families, largely to have the country removed from the U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.

In February 2020, the interim government announced that it reached a settlement agreement with the families of those who died in the attack. Sudanese Justice Minister Nasr al-Din Abdel Bari said a $30 million payment was part of the victims' compensation package.

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The USS Cole returned to service after repairs in 2002, which included the removal and replacement of 550 tons of steel.

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