USS Cole bombing

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Damage to USS Cole

The USS Cole bombing was a suicide bombing attack against the guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) on October 12, 2000.


The attack

On October 12, 2000, USS Cole was in the port of Aden, Yemen for a routine fuel stop. Cole completed mooring operations at 09:30. Refueling started at 10:30. At 11:18 local time (08:18 UTC), a small craft approached the port side of the destroyer, and an explosion occurred causing a 40 by 40 foot (12 m by 12 m) gash in the port side of the Cole. Damage control efforts to manage flooding in the ship's engineering spaces were reported successful that evening. Divers inspected the hull and said the keel was not damaged.

The attack was carried out by suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa. It was organized by Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization, called by Westerners at that time al-Qaida.

USS Donald Cook and USS Hawes made best speed to arrive in the vicinity of Aden that afternoon providing repair and logistical support. Catawba, Camden, Anchorage, Duluth, and Tarawa arrived in Aden some days later, providing watch relief crews, harbor security, damage control equipment, billeting, and food service for the crew of USS Cole.

Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others were injured in the blast which blew a hole in the port side of the destroyer. The injured sailors were taken to the United States Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein, Germany, and later to the U.S.

MV Blue Marlin carrying USS Cole
MV Blue Marlin carrying USS Cole

USS Cole was transported from Aden by the Norwegian heavy semi-submersible salvage ship MV Blue Marlin (see Figure 2). She arrived in Pascagoula, Mississippi December 24, 2000.

Previous attempt

One of the 2000 millennium attack plots, the attempted bombing of USS The Sullivans, is widely seen as a trial run of the Cole bombing. This attack failed when the bombers' boat, overloaded with explosives, began to sink.

Consequences and after-effects

President Bill Clinton declared, "If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act. We will find out who was responsible and hold them accountable". Some critics [1] ( [2] ( [3] ( [4] ( haved pointed out that, under U.S. law, an attack against a military target does not meet the legal definition of terrorism (see: 22 USC 2656f(d)(2) (

On January 19, 2001, The Navy completed and released its Judge Advocate General Manual (JAGMAN) investigation of the incident, concluding that Cole's commanding officer "acted reasonably in adjusting his force protection posture based on his assessment of the situation that presented itself" when Cole arrived in Aden to refuel. The JAGMAN also concluded that "the commanding officer of Cole did not have the specific intelligence, focused training, appropriate equipment or on-scene security support to effectively prevent or deter such a determined, preplanned assault on his ship" and recommended significant changes in Navy procedures.

On November 3, 2002, the CIA fired a AGM-114 Hellfire missile from a Predator UAV at a vehicle carrying Abu Ali al-Harithi, a suspected planner of the bombing plot. Also in the vehicle was Ahmed Hijazi, a U.S. citizen. Both were killed. This operation was carried out on Yemeni soil, possibly with the cooperation of the Yemeni government.

On September 29, 2004, a Yemeni judge sentenced Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Jamal al-Badawi to death for their roles in the bombing. Al-Nashiri, believed to be the operation's mastermind, is currently being held by the U.S. at an undisclosed location. Al-Badawi, in Yemeni custody, denounced the verdict as "an American one." Four others were sentenced to prison terms of five to 10 years for their involvement, including one Yemeni who had videotaped the attack.


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