U.S. airstrike in Yemen targeted suspect in attack on USS Cole

A powerful explosion Thursday ripped a hole in a U.S Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden killing 17 sailors and injuring some 30 others.(AP

The results of the New Year's day attack are still being assessed, including whether Jamal Al-badawi was killed.

A USA airstrike in western Yemen may have killed one of the men suspected of coordinating a terror bombing on the USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 US sailors, Defense officials said Friday.

The bombing of the Cole killed 17 American sailors and wounded 39 others on October 12, 2000.

Al-Badawi is wanted by the US government for his alleged part in the terrorist attack launched almost 20 years ago against the USS Cole.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the strike on January 1 in the Marib governorate of Yemen had targeted Jamal al-Badawi, who was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 and was wanted for his role in the USS Cole attack.

The airstrike precisely targeted a vehicle carrying Badawi who was travelling alone near al-Qaida-held area in al-Bayda, the source said.

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"We are aware of reports that Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a strike in Yemen", Urban said.

A federal grand jury indicted Badawi on 50 counts in 2003 for the bombing.

Meanwhile, a USA military strike in al-Dayman, Yemen, on Friday targeted operatives for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to an official.

Al-Badawi was on the FBI Most Wanted list and was the subject of a $5 million reward from the U.S. State Department.

He was convicted of plotting and taking part in the bombing in Yemen in 2004 but escaped from prison and, after handing himself in again, was allowed to walk free.

The Cole, a guide-missile destroyer, was attacked by suicide bombers in an explosives-laden boat while refueling at the Yemeni port of Aden.