An al Qaeda operative behind the 2000 terror attack on the USS Cole is believed to have been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen earlier this week, a U.S. official told CNN. Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi, believed to be the mastermind of the attack that killed 17 American sailors, was reportedly struck while driving alone on Tuesday in Yemen’s Ma’rib Governorate. The U.S. reportedly assessed that there was no collateral damage. The USS Cole was attacked by a small boat laden with explosives less than a year before the 9/11 attacks. Al-Badawi was previously imprisoned by Yemeni forces for the attack in 2000 and in 2004, but he successfully escaped both times.