The United States on Sunday announced that Jamal al-Badawi, the al-Qaeda militant who orchestrated the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, died in an air strike in Yemen last week, BBC reported. Seventeen American sailors were killed and at least 40 people were wounded in the attack on the US destroyer while it was refuelling in the port of Aden.

“Our great military has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al-Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against radical Islamic terrorism!”

After conducting the air strike on Tuesday in Yemen’s Marib province, the military had said it was still assessing whether Badawi had been killed, The New York Times reported. However, soon after the president’s statement the US military’s Central Command tweeted a confirmation.

Badawi, who was believed to be in his 50s, was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 for his role in the attack. He escaped from prison in Yemen twice, first in April 2003 and then in February 2006. The United States had offered $5-million reward for information leading to his capture.

The attack on October 12, 2000, was carried out by two suicide bombers, who detonated nearly 1,000 pounds of explosives. The blast opened up a 40-foot-by-40-foot blackened gash in the warship’s port side apart from killing the 17 sailors. It foreshadowed the deadlier September 11, 2001, attacks by al-Qaeda in the United States.