Trump says military strike killed ‘leader’ of attack on USS Cole

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE on Sunday confirmed that one of the suspected masterminds of a 2000 attack that killed 17 American sailors aboard the USS Cole was killed in a recent U.S. military operation. 

Trump tweeted that Jamal al-Badawi, who allegedly helped plan the attack, was dead.

"Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole," Trump wrote on Twitter.

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"Our work against al Qaeda continues," the president added. "We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!"

Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement that U.S. forces confirmed al-Badawi was killed in a Jan. 1 airstrike in Marib, Yemen.

Al-Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 and charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, Urban said. Al-Badawi had been captured following the USS Cole attack, but escaped prison multiple times.

NBC News reported Saturday night that al-Badawi was believed to have been killed in a New Year's Day airstrike in Yemen. The Pentagon said it was aware of reports of his death, but offered no confirmation.

Seventeen Americans were killed and nearly 40 others were injured when suicide bombers steered a boat into the USS Cole in October 2000. The U.S. Navy ship had pulled into a harbor in Yemen for refueling at the time of the attack.

-Updated 12:02 p.m.