For victims whose lives had been ceaselessly modified by the evil deeds of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the drone strike final weekend that killed the 71-year-old terrorist meant their struggling hasn’t been forgotten.
Retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, commander of the guided-missile destroyer Cole when the ship was attacked throughout a resupply operation in Aden, Yemen, in 2000, killing 17 sailors and wounding 39, mentioned he felt gratified after information broke Monday of the profitable U.S. operation that resulted in Zawahiri’s loss of life.
“I get no happiness or pleasure out of it. What I do get is a way of satisfaction that america authorities is resolute in holding terrorists accountable for killing Individuals,” Lippold mentioned in an interview with Army.com on Wednesday.
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The White Home introduced Monday that Zawahiri was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, early Sunday morning native time, taken out as he stood on his balcony by Hellfire missiles dispatched from an unmanned aerial system.
Zawahiri was one of many world’s most wished terrorists, an Egyptian surgeon and present chief of al-Qaida who, with group founder Osama bin Laden, deliberate terrorist assaults that killed greater than 3,200 individuals and wounded 10,500 extra. These embrace assaults on American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998; the Cole; and the World Commerce Heart, Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.
The strike was the primary U.S. operation inside Afghanistan since American troops withdrew final August, ending greater than 20 years of struggle that killed 2,455 U.S. troops, together with 13 within the ultimate egress.
President Joe Biden mentioned Monday throughout a televised speech that Zawahiri had made movies in current weeks calling for assaults on america and allied nations.
“Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist chief isn’t any extra,” Biden mentioned.
On Oct. 12, 2000, the Cole had docked in Aden for a refueling operation when operatives maneuvered a small boat alongside the ship and detonated greater than 400 kilos of explosives. The blast tore a 40- by 45-foot gap within the vessel at its waterline, sparking a valiant effort to save lots of the ship.
Among the many 17 sailors who died was Signalman Apprentice Cherone Gunn, 22, of Virginia Seashore, Virginia. Gunn’s brother, Jamal, who nonetheless lives in Virginia Seashore, instructed native information station WTKR that his brother was a “nice man.”
“[Zawahiri] did not simply have a significant a part of my brother’s loss of life. He had a significant half in al-Qaida total, so I am glad to see him delivered to justice,” Gunn mentioned.
The Zawahiri strike marked the fourth time over 20 years Cole personnel and households have realized that these accountable for the assault have paid for his or her actions with their lives.
In 2002, a 25-year-old suspect within the bombing, Sameer Mohammed al-Hada, blew himself up with a grenade as safety forces closed in to arrest him in Aden. He and two sisters had deep ties to al-Qaida, with one sister married to one of many 9/11 hijackers on American Airways Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, and one other sister married to a recognized Yemeni terrorist.
In 2011, within the pre-dawn hours of Might 2, U.S. forces raided the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed the al-Qaida chief, taking pictures him in his third-floor bed room. His physique was buried at sea by U.S. sailors from the service Carl Vinson.
In January 2019, al-Qaida operative Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi, one of many terrorists concerned within the Cole planning, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen.
And now, Zawahiri.
“It’s totally gratifying to see that we now have some very devoted professionals nonetheless serving our authorities who’re keen to speculate the time and the sources over years to develop the answer that enables us to hold out very efficient strikes like we did towards al-Zawahiri,” Lippold mentioned.
A further suspect, Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, has been incarcerated on the army detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba, the place he has been held since 2006. His case has remained in pre-trial proceedings since 2011.
Lippold’s Navy profession was derailed by the assault, however the service later concluded he had taken cheap precautions to guard and save his ship. He mentioned he stays in contact with the previous Cole crew in addition to relations and, like them, experiences “a number of painful recollections” when one thing just like the Zawahiri strike happens.
“By the identical token although, they, like me, get a way of gratification that our authorities has not forgotten and that we’ll maintain these individuals accountable, even when it is delivered many years after their act,” Lippold mentioned.
— Patricia Kime might be reached at Patricia.Kime@Army.com. Observe her on Twitter @patriciakime
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