Sudan Agrees to Compensate Families of US Sailors Killed in 'Cole' Bombing

The USS Cole is towed away from the port city of Aden, Yemen, into open sea by the Military Sealift Command ocean-going tug USNS Catawba on October 29, 2000.

Cairo — Sudan has agreed to compensate families of 17 U.S. sailors killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

Sudan's transitional government said Thursday that it has signed an agreement with the families as part of its efforts to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Officials said the settlement was signed last week in Washington, but did not release the terms of the deal.  News reports Thursday said Sudan agreed to pay $30 million to the families.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. continues to look at removing Sudan from the state sponsors of terror list but said no decision has been made.

"We always measure twice and cut once before we remove someone from a list like that," Pompeo said.

The October 12, 2000 attack on the Cole occurred while the ship was refueling in the southern Yemeni port of Aden.  More than 30 sailors were wounded in addition to the 17 killed.  Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sudan was accused of supporting al-Qaida, but denied any link to the bombing.  The eastern Africa country was home to al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden for several years in the 1990s.

The United States added Sudan to its list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993.  The Sudanese government installed following the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir last year is trying to convince U.S. officials to take it off the list.

Earlier this week, the government reached an agreement with rebel groups from Sudan's Darfur region to send Bashir to the International Criminal Court, where is he wanted on charges of war crimes and genocide for his actions in Darfur.

Cindy Saine contributed to this report.

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