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Senior al-Qaida leader killed by USA drone strike in central Yemen

FBI shows Jamal al-Badawi. An American military spokesman says a U.S. airstrike in Yemen targeted al-Badawi an al Qaida operative accused of involvement in the Oct. 12 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors. The

Seventeen American sailors were killed as well as the two perpetrators of the attack that was claimed by Al-Qaeda, in an early success for the terror group and its founder Osama Bin Laden.

"A leading local commander of al-Qaida group named Jamal Badawi was killed by the USA drone strike carried out in al-Bayda Province", the security source said on condition of anonymity.

Another key al-Qaeda operative, bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to have been killed by a USA drone strike in Yemen in 2017.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNN on Friday that Al-Badawi was struck while driving alone in a vehicle.

A USA airstrike in Yemen has targeted one of the alleged masterminds of the USS Cole bombing, which killed 17 sailors in 2000.

The FBI has been offering a reward of up to $5 million for information that would lead to his arrest. The official said there was no indication of collateral damage. Docked in Aden for a routine refueling stop, the guided-missile destroyer was approached by a small boat loaded with explosives, which was then detonated. He escaped from prison in Yemen twice, once in 2003 and again in 2006. He was indicted by a US grand jury in 2003 and charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of USA nationals and murder of USA military personnel.

Al-Badawi is wanted by the USA government for his alleged part in the terrorist attack launched almost 20 years ago against the USS Cole. He was sentenced to death but his sentence was later reduced to 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

Al-Badawi's death in Tuesday's airstrike was also confirmed by Voice of America, citing a defense official. He managed to escape a second time in February 2006, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.