The U.S. armed forces have killed Jamal al-Badawi, the man who led the deadly terrorist attack in 2000 on the USS Cole, according to President Donald Trump.
The U.S. military said Jan. 4 that it carried out a strike in Yemen targeting al-Badawi, but the results were still being assessed at the time. Trump wrote on Twitter on Jan. 6 that al-Badawi was killed.
“Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“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!”
U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the Jan. 1 strike in the Marib governorate of Yemen had targeted al-Badawi, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 and was wanted for his role in the USS Cole attack and an attempted attack on USS The Sullivans.
Al-Badawi was captured in Yemen and sentenced to death in 2004. However, he escaped from prison in Yemen twice—once in 2003 and again in 2006. There was a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
On Oct. 12, 2000, two men in a small boat detonated explosives alongside the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer as it was refueling in Aden, Yemen. The terrorists blasted a gaping hole in its hull, killing 17 sailors, and wounding more than three dozen others.
Two of the six terrorists involved in the USS Cole attack who were charged by Yemen were sentenced to death.
In 2007, al-Badawi surrendered to Yemeni authorities as part of a deal with the al-Qaeda terrorist group. The Yemeni authorities freed him—even though he was wanted by the FBI—in return for a promise that he wouldn’t engage in violent al-Qaeda activity.
During a state visit to Saudi Arabia in 2017, Trump positioned the fight against radical Islamic terrorism as the centerpiece of his foreign policy in the Middle East.
In the past 30 days, radical Islamic terrorists have carried out 87 attacks in 23 countries, killing 732 people and injuring more than 400, according to a database maintained by TheReligionofPeace.com. Islamic terrorists have carried out more 34,000 deadly terror attacks since Sept. 11, 2001.
Reuters contributed to this report.