Though many Americans have already forgotten it, in October 2000, Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terrorist group launched a deadly attack against a U.S. Naval vessel — the U.S.S. Cole — while it refueled in the Port of Aden off the coast of Yemen. Two suicide bombers in a small boat filled with explosives crashed into the side of the Cole, ripping a massive hole in the hull.
The attack took the lives of 17 U.S. sailors and wounded 39 others, and though it was upstaged less than a year later by the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the U.S. has continued to search for the terrorists responsible in order to bring them to justice … or bring justice directly to them, as just happened. An Al Qaeda terrorist who was a co-planner of the Cole attack, Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi, is believed dead after being targeted by an airstrike in Yemen, according to a Trump administration official.
Trump team takes out a terrorist
“U.S. forces conducted a precision strike Jan. 1st in the Marib governate, Yemen, targeting Jamal al-Badawi, a legacy al Qaeda operative in Yemen involved in the USS Cole bombing,” explained U.S. Central Command spokesman, U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban, in a statement to CNN.
“U.S. forces are still assessing the results of the strike following a deliberate process to confirm his death,” Urban continued.
He noted that al-Badawi is believed to have been driving alone in the vehicle that was hit by the airstrike and collateral damage was minimal.
Al-Badawi was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for quite some time and the State Department offered $5 million for information on his whereabouts.
“Al-Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003, charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of U.S. nationals and murder of U.S. military personnel,” Urban reminded CNN.
Escaped prison twice
Two prior efforts to hold Al-Badawi accountable via imprisonment had failed.
Al-Badawi was arrested by Yemeni officials in Dec. 2000, but managed to escape from prison in April 2003.
He was taken into custody once again in March 2004, but escaped once more after he and other inmates dug a tunnel out from under the prison in Feb. 2006, and he remained at-large in and around Yemen ever since … until now.
One less terrorist
There is a saying that “justice delayed is justice denied,” but in this case, the family and friends of those killed or seriously injured in the Cole attack are no doubt relieved that the jihadist responsible for their loss has finally been served justice, even if it took 18 years.
The attack on the USS Cole by Al Qaeda operatives served as a preface for that organization’s much larger, more sophisticated, and far deadlier attack the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, which changed the nation’s foreign policy perspective in countless ways, and still serves as an impetus in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists.
Though the bombing of the Cole had been largely treated as a crime — hence the many efforts at arresting and imprisoning those believed responsible — in truth, it was an act of war against the United States, one that has finally been responded to in like measure by the Trump administration.