Highlights of the USS Cole bombing



CNN Editorial Research

Here is some background information on the USS Cole bombing in Yemen on October 12, 2000.


In October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by suicide bombers while in the port of Aden, Yemen, to refuel. The attack was attributed to al-Qaeda and foreshadowed the attack on the United States less than a year later on September 11, 2001.

The explosion left a hole in the hull of the ship, killing 17 US sailors. Thirty-nine others were injured.


October 12, 2000 – During a refueling stop in the port of Aden, the USS Cole is attacked by suicide bombers in a small boat loaded with explosives.

October 13, 2000 – The FBI arrives in Yemen to investigate the attack.

October 16, 2000 – The Yemeni government recognizes that the USS Cole was the target of a terrorist attack. At first, she considered the explosion an “accident”, triggered by a detonation on board the ship.

October 30, 2000 – The USS Cole begins its return to the United States, leaving the port of Aden. He was brought back to the United States by a Norwegian transport vessel.

December 2000 – Yemeni authorities arrest suspects Fahd al-Quso and Jamal al-Badawi. Additionally, US and Yemeni officials identify Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri as a key figure in the bombing.

January 9, 2001 – The Department of Defense publishes a report on the attack on the USS Cole which does not attribute blame but finds significant gaps in security against terrorist attacks.

January 19, 2001 – The results of a US Navy investigation are released, concluding that the incident could not have been avoided.

March 1, 2001 – Al-Jazeera broadcasts Osama bin Laden reading a poem mentioning the attack. “In Aden, the young man rose up for holy war and destroyed a destroyer feared by the powerful.

June 2001 – A video is circulating showing followers of Bin Laden training in Afghanistan, chanting, “We thank God for granting us victory the day we destroyed Cole in the sea.”

October 12, 2001 – The dedication ceremony for the USS Cole Memorial takes place at Naval Station Norfolk.

November 2002 – US officials say al-Nashiri, a suspected planner of the attack, has been captured and is being questioned at a secret location.

April 2003 – Pakistani authorities say they have arrested the alleged planner of the USS Cole attack, Walid bin Attash, also known as Khallad (or Khalid) bin Attash.

May 15, 2003 – The Justice Department announces indictments against al-Badawi and al-Quso for their roles in the attack on the USS Cole. Three unindicted co-conspirators are also named: bin Attash, al-Nashiri and bin Laden.

November 29, 2003 – The USS Cole departs for its first overseas deployment since the bombing. The floor of the ship’s corridor now has 17 stars, one for each sailor killed.

July 2004 – Yemen charges six men in the Cole bombing. Five defendants in court are al-Badawi, Maamoun Msouh, al-Quso, Ali Mohamed Saleh and Murad al-Sirouri. Al-Nashiri will be tried in absentia as he is detained in the United States. In addition, the judge appoints two of the suicide bombers for the first time, Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa.

July 16, 2004 – Family members of the slain sailors are filing a lawsuit against Sudan for more than $ 100 million, alleging that the Sudanese government provided support that enabled al-Qaeda to attack the USS Cole.

September 29, 2004 – A judge in Yemen sentences al-Badawi and al-Nashiri to death for organizing the attack on the USS Cole. Al-Quso is sentenced to 10 years in prison, Msouh, eight years, and Saleh and al-Sirouri are sentenced to five years. Yemeni authorities say the six defendants belong to the al-Qaeda network.

February 26, 2005 – A Yemeni appeals court reduces al-Badawi’s death sentence to 15 years in prison but maintains the death sentence against al-Nashiri. The court also reduced Msouh’s sentence from eight to five years.

February 3, 2006 – Interpol announces escape from al-Badawi prison.

September 2006 – Al-Nashiri, who has been held in various locations undisclosed by the CIA, is transferred to Guantánamo Bay prison.

March 19, 2007 – Transcripts of hearings are released by the Defense Ministry in which bin Attash confesses his role in the attack.

March 2007 – Pentagon transcripts from a military tribunal are published in which al-Nashiri claims he made a false confession because he was tortured. The CIA previously admitted that al-Nashiri was among the terrorist suspects subjected to waterboarding during questioning.

March 14, 2007 – Judging after a two-day civil trial, US District Judge Robert Doumar finds Sudan responsible for the attack on the USS Cole.

July 25, 2007 – Judge Doumar orders the Sudanese government to pay nearly $ 8 million to the families of the sailors killed.

June 30, 2008 – US military prosecutors charge al-Nashiri, detained at Guantanamo, with murder for allegedly planning the attack on the USS Cole. Al-Nashiri is the first alleged Cole conspirator indicted by the United States and has been detained by the United States since 2002.

December 19, 2008 – The Defense Ministry officially approves the war crimes charges against al-Nashiri. Al-Nashiri has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2006.

February 5, 2009 – Susan J. Crawford, the highest judicial authority for the Guantanamo trials, drops all charges against al-Nashiri to enforce US President Barack Obama’s executive order freezing pending cases. The suspect remains in jail and could face new charges.

February 6, 2009 – Obama meets with relatives of victims of the Cole bombing and the 9/11 attacks to explain why he ordered the closure of the Guantánamo detention center and delayed the military trials of terrorist suspects held there.

2010 – Fifteen injured sailors and three surviving spouses file a federal complaint claiming that the Sudanese government provided material support to the terrorists responsible for the attack. According to the complainants, the Republic of Sudan has provided funding, training and additional support to Al Qaeda. They are looking for assets in Sudanese banks to compensate for injuries and deaths.

April 20, 2011 – The Defense Ministry announces new charges against al-Nashiri: planning the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, the attempted bombing of the USS The Sullivans in 2000 and the attack on the French tanker MV Limburg in 2002. He risks the death penalty.

November 9, 2011 – that of Al-Nashiri trial begins at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

March 30, 2012 – U.S. District Court issues final judgment awarding $ 314,705,896 in compensatory and punitive damages to plaintiffs who again filed suit against the Sudanese government for their role in assisting terrorists in carrying out the attack bomb against the USS Cole.

January 2014 – The Republic of Sudan is appealing the decision of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal, claiming that it was not properly informed of the complainant’s allegations and that the proper procedures were not followed.

April 29, 2014 – A US court finds Sudan provided al-Qaeda with aid that led to the attack, awarding the families $ 35 million in compensation.

September 23, 2015 – The 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the Sudanese government’s appeal and orders the return of Sudanese bank assets.

November 1, 2017 – Military Judge Air Force Col. Vance Spath finds chief defense counsel Marine Brigadier General John Baker in contempt for disobeying orders after excusing all three defense attorneys who resigned in October. Baker is sentenced to 21 days in jail and a fine.

June 18, 2018 – Baker’s conviction is overturned in federal court.

January 1, 2019 – Al-Badawi was killed in an airstrike in Yemen, according to a statement from the US central command.

March 26, 2019 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8-1 against the victims and families of the USS Cole attack in their lawsuit against Sudan, saying the victims did not properly notify their lawsuit to the Sudanese government.

February 12, 2020 – Sudanese officials say Sudan will pay a $ 30 million settlement to the families of 17 U.S. Navy sailors killed in the 2000 bombing in a bid to be removed from the list of U.S. sponsoring the terrorism. The Sudanese government “explicitly denies” its involvement in the attack and says the payment is intended “to settle historic allegations of terrorism left behind by the old regime.

March 31, 2021 – US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement that the United States has received from Sudan the $ 335 million settlement to be paid to the victims and families of those affected by the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the 1998 bombings of the American embassies. in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of a USAID employee in Khartoum. A State Department spokesperson said Sudan’s $ 335 million is in addition to the $ 72.5 million in a private settlement already paid for with a number of USS COLE victims.


Hull Maintenance Engineer Second Class Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, 21

Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, 35

Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, 19

Information Systems Technician Timothy Lee Gauna, 21

Signalman Sailor Cherone Louis Gunn, 22 years old

Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, 19

Second Class Mechanic Marc Ian Nieto, 24

Electronic Warfare Technician Second Class Ronald Scott Owens, 24

Seaman Lakiba Nicole Palmer, 22

Fire Mechanic Joshua Langdon Parlett, 19

Firefighter Patrick Howard Roy, 19

Electronic Warfare Technician First Class Kevin Shawn Rux, 30

Mess Management Specialist Third Class Ronchester Manangan Santiago, 22

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, 32

Firefighter Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., 26

Ensign Andrew Triplett, 31

Seaman Craig Bryan Wibberley, 19

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