Jamal al-Badawi, the al-Qaeda militant behind the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, died in a U.S. air strike, President Donald Trump has confirmed.
Suicide bombers using boats full of explosives attacked the Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, while it was refueling at the Yemeni port of Aden in October 12, 2000.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the airstrike killed al-Badawi.
"We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi", the US President added. Our work against [al-Qaida] continues. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility. "USA forces confirmed the results of the strike following a deliberate assessment process".
U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement Friday that the New Year's Day airstrike in the Ma'rib Governorate of Yemen was targeting Al-Badawi.
Al-Badawi was captured in Yemen and sentenced to death in 2004.
Al-Badawi was charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of USA nationals and murder of US military personnel.
There was a $7 million ($US5 million) reward for information leading to his arrest.
The blast left a gaping hole in the vessel's hull and wounded more than three dozen others. The Yemeni authorities freed him-even though he was wanted by the FBI-in return for a promise that he would not engage in violent al-Qaeda activity. Islamic terrorists have carried out more 34,000 deadly terror attacks since September 11, 2001.