In October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by suicide bombers, while in port in Aden, Yemen, for refueling. The attack was attributed to al Qaeda and foreshadowed the attack on the United States less than one year later on September 11, 2001.
The explosion ripped 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 harbor of Aden, the USS Cole is attacked by suicide bombers in a small boat laden with explosives.
October 13, 2000 - The FBI arrives in Yemen to investigate the bombing.
October 16, 2000 - The Yemeni government acknowledges the USS Cole has been the target of a terrorist attack. Initially, it considered the explosion to have been an "accident," set off 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. It is brought back to the United States by a Norwegian transport ship.
December 2000 - Yemeni officials 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 issues a report on the USS Cole attack which does not assign blame but finds significant shortcomings 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 prevented.
March 1, 2001 - Al-Jazeera broadcasts Osama bin Laden reading a poem mentioning the attack. ''In Aden, the young man stood up for holy war and destroyed a destroyer feared by the powerful.''
June 2001 - A video circulates showing followers of bin Laden training in Afghanistan, singing, "We thank God for granting us victory the day we destroyed Cole in the sea."
October 12, 2001 - The USS Cole Memorial dedication ceremony takes place at Norfolk Naval Station.
November 2002 - US officials announce al-Nashiri, an alleged planner of the attack, has been captured and is being interrogated at a secret location.
April 2003 - Pakistani officials announce they have arrested suspected USS Cole attack planner 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 USS Cole attack. Three unindicted co-conspirators are also named: bin Attash, al-Nashiri and bin Laden.
November 29, 2003 - The USS Cole departs on its first overseas deployment since the bombing. The hallway floor on the ship now features 17 stars, one for each of the sailors killed.
July 2004 - Yemen charges six men in the Cole bombing. Five accused 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 in US custody. Also, the judge names two of the suicide bombers for the first time, Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa.
July 16, 2004 - Family members of the sailors killed file a lawsuit against Sudan for more than $100 million, alleging the Sudanese government provided support that allowed 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 given a 10-year jail sentence, Msouh, eight years, and both Saleh and al-Sirouri are given five year sentences. Yemeni authorities say all 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 jail but upholds the death sentence against al-Nashiri. The court also reduces Msouh's sentence from eight to five years.
February 3, 2006 - Interpol announces al-Badawi's escape from jail.
September 2006 - Al-Nashiri, who has been held at various undisclosed locations by the CIA, is transferred to Guantánamo Bay prison.
March 19, 2007 - Hearing transcripts are released by the Defense Department in which bin Attash confesses to his role in the attack.
March 2007 - Pentagon transcripts of a military tribunal are released in which al-Nashiri claims he made a false confession because he was tortured. The CIA has previously admitted al-Nashiri was among terrorist suspects subjected to waterboarding while being interrogated.
March 14, 2007 - Ruling at the end of a two day civil bench trial, US District Judge Robert Doumar finds Sudan liable for the USS Cole attack.
July 25, 2007 - Judge Doumar orders the Sudanese government to pay close to $8 million to the families of the sailors killed.
June 30, 2008 - US military prosecutors charge Guantanamo detainee al-Nashiri with murder for allegedly planning the attack on the USS Cole. Al-Nashiri is the first alleged Cole plotter charged by the US, and has been in US custody since 2002.
December 19, 2008 - The Defense Department formally approves war crimes charges against al-Nashiri. Al-Nashiri has been imprisoned at Guantánamo since 2006.
February 5, 2009 - Susan J. Crawford, the top legal authority for trials at Guantánamo, drops all charges against al-Nashiri to uphold President Barack Obama's executive order freezing pending cases. The suspect remains in prison and may face new charges.
February 6, 2009 - Obama meets relatives of victims of the Cole bombing and September 11th attacks to explain his rationale for ordering the Guantánamo detention center to be closed and delay the military trials of terrorist suspects being held there.
2010 - Fifteen injured sailors and three surviving spouses file a federal lawsuit claiming the Sudanese government provided material support to the terrorists responsible for the attack. According to the plaintiffs, the Republic of Sudan provided funding, training and additional support to al Qaeda. They are seeking assets in Sudanese banks to compensate for the injuries and deaths.