Spokesman of the US Central Command Capt Bill Urban said: "Jamal al-Badawi was killed in a precision strike in Marib governate on January 1".
In October 2000, 17 American sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole died in a suicide bomb attack at Aden harbor. Our work against al Qaeda continues. Urban could not confirm the Al Qaeda operative's death, saying US forces were still assessing the results.
"We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!" he added.
A federal grand jury indicted Badawi on 50 counts in 2003 for the bombing in which a one of a group of small boats from Yemen's pulled up along the Cole and apparently detonated a "significant" explosive package. However, he escaped from prison in Yemen twice-once in 2003 and again in 2006.
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The attack's alleged planner, Saudi-born Abd al-Nashiri, is being held in United States custody at Guantanamo Bay and could face the death penalty. "We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi", Trump said in the tweet.
There was a $7 million ($US5 million) reward for information leading to his arrest.
The death of Badawi removes perhaps the last major figure in the USS Cole attack from the battlefield.
He surrendered in 2007 but was released after cooperating in the capture of other al-Qaeda operatives.
"The coordinator and the main planner of the attack, Abd al-Nashiri, is still alive in Guantanamo Bay".