US says key plotter in USS Cole attack may have been killed in Yemen

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The 2000 bombing of the USS Cole killed 2017/ (AFP)
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Jamal Al-Badawi was targeted by a US airstrike in Yemen. (FBI)
Updated 05 January 2019
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US says key plotter in USS Cole attack may have been killed in Yemen

  • One of the main plotters behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole may have been killed in Yemen
  • US forces conducted a precision strike Jan. 1 in Marib, targeting Jamal Al-Badawi

WASHINGTON: One of the main plotters behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that left 17 American servicemen dead may have been killed in Yemen, the American military said Friday.
“US forces conducted a precision strike Jan. 1 in the Marib (governorate), Yemen, targeting Jamal Al-Badawi, a legacy Al-Qaeda operative in Yemen involved in the USS Cole bombing,” said Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command.
“US forces are still assessing the results of the strike following a deliberate process to confirm his death.”
A rubber boat loaded with explosives blew up as it rounded the bow of the guided-missile destroyer, which had just pulled into Aden for a five- to six-hour refueling stop, on October 12, 2000.
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.
The chief suspect Abdel Rahim Al-Nashiri is being held in Guantanamo Bay.
Badawi was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 and charged with 50 counts of various terrorism offenses, including murder of US nationals and murder of US military personnel.
Apart from his alleged role in the USS Cole attack, in which he was said to have supplied boats and explosives, he is also charged with attempting with co-conspirators to attack a US Navy vessel in January 2000.
The FBI had placed Badawi on its most wanted list, offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
According to the agency, he was captured by Yemeni authorities in connection with the attack but escaped from prison in April 2003. He was recaptured in March 2004, but again escaped in February 2006.


Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 53 min 22 sec ago
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Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to "send home in coffins" visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the "vile" and "offensive" remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.