Al-Qaeda has used Yemen as a base to launch attacks against U.S. interests since the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Some major events:
October 12, 2000 USS Cole attack: Al-Qaeda militants ram the USS Cole with an explosives-packed speedboat off the southern city of Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors.
Nov. 3, 2002 Nov. 3, 2002 Al-Qaeda figure killed:Abu Ali al-Harithi, reputed head of the group al-Qaeda in Yemen, is killed in eastern Yemen by a missile fired at his car by a Predator drone. Harithi was a suspect in the attack against the USS Cole.
Early 2006 jailbreak in Sanaa: Twenty-three people, at least 13 of them convicted al-Qaeda fighters, escape from a prison in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, through a 140-yard-long tunnel. Jamal Badawi, who had been convicted of plotting, preparing and helping to carry out the Cole bombing, was among the fugitives. U.S. and Yemeni officials said the prisoners were aided by Yemeni intelligence officials sympathetic to al-Qaeda.
Sept. 17, 2008 U.S. Embassy attack: Heavily armed al-Qaeda gunmen attack the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, detonating two cars bomb. Nineteen people are killed, including six of the assailants. The embassy attack, analysts and officials said, is thought to have been carried out on a direct order from Osama bin Laden.
January 2009 Al-Qaeda merger: The Yemeni and Saudi Arabian branches of al-Qaeda merge to create al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi once served as bin Laden's personal secretary and was one of the escapees in the Sanaa jailbreak.
Aug. 27, 2009 Attempted assassination of Saudi prince:Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the head of Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism operations, is nearly killed after AQAP dispatches a Saudi suicide bomber, who slips past at least two security checks to reach the prince's home in Jiddah.
November 2009 Assault on Yemeni officials An attack on security officials kills two people and injures 18 others in Yemen's Hadramawt province. The attack was in retaliation for the killing of al-Qaeda militants in Yemen.