Cole Bombing

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COLE BOMBING. On 12 October 2000, two terrorists detonated a powerful bomb in a small boat next to the guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Cole while it was docked in the harbor at Aden, Yemen. The Cole had entered the port a few hours earlier to refuel. The blast blew a large hole into the side of the Cole, flooding the engine room and destroying several compartments. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and over thirty others were injured.

Suspicion soon focused on the Al Qaeda terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden. Scores of individuals were detained for questioning. The investigation revealed that a sophisticated and well-funded organization had planned and executed the attack on the Cole. The conspiracy had also planned to attack other U.S. targets in the Middle East. Several suspects were eventually arrested in Yemen. Despite a cooperative arrangement between U.S. and Yemeni investigators, the Yemeni government refused to extradite the suspects to the United States for prosecution.

In December 2000, the Cole was transported to the United States for major repairs. In April 2002, it returned to active duty at a cost of $250 million. An onboard memorial commemorates the victims of the attack.


Bergen, Peter L. Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.

Eisman, Dale. "Cole Investigation Update: Case Marches Toward Justice." Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), 22 April 2002.

William J.Aceves

See alsoTerrorism .