Jamal al-Badawi, an al Qaeda operative suspected of being involved in coordinating a terror bombing on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors in 200, died in a precision strike in Yemen's Marib governate on Tuesday, U.S. Central Command confirmed Sunday. File photo by Leland Come/U.S. Navy | License Photo
Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A man suspected in the terror bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 was killed in an airstrike at the beginning of the year, U.S. Central Command confirmed Sunday.
U.S. Central Command tweeted that Jamal al-Badawi, an al Qaeda operative suspected of being involved in coordinating a terror bombing on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors was killed in a precision strike in Yemen's Marib governate on Jan. 1.
"U.S. forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process," the agency wrote.
About two hours before Central Command confirmed the death, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that Badawi had been killed.
"Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole," Trump wrote. "Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!"
Defense officials including U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. William Urban originally identified Badawi as a person likely killed in the airstrike, which took place about 75 miles east of the capital of Sanaa on Friday.
A federal grand jury indicted Badawi on 50 counts in 2003 for the bombing in which a one of a group of small boats from Yemen's pulled up along the Cole and apparently detonated a "significant" explosive package.
The explosion blew an 800-square-foot hole at the midpoint of the port side of the ship, destroying an engine room and an auxiliary room and damaged the chief petty officers' dining room and the crew galley.
Seventeen sailors, ranging in age from 19 to 35, died in the blast and another 39 were injured.