Al-Qaeda Leader Killed by US Strike

al qaeda leader nasser

Al-Qaeda has confirmed that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of its offshoot in the Arabian Peninsula, has been killed in a US drone strike in Yemen according to BBC report.

His death was announced by the AQAP group in an online video. His successor was named as military chief Qasim al-Raymi.
Wuhayshi was seen as al-Qaeda’s second-in-command and was a former private secretary to Osama Bin Laden. He built one of the most active al-Qaeda branches, say US officials.

In Yemen, resurgent al-Qaeda militants have seized territory and infrastructure – indirectly assisted by Saudi-led air strikes on the rebel Houthi movement, their Shia Muslim foes.
But the deaths of a number of leading figures in AQAP in recent months have reportedly fueled rumours among supporters that it has been successfully targeted by intelligence agencies.

The Yemeni news group al-Masdar Online previously reported (in Arabic) thatWuhayshi was killed in an attack in Hadramawt province last Friday.
The Pentagon has previously said it would not comment on the killing – which the Site intelligence group has said would constitute the biggest strike on al-Qaedasince Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan in 2011.

The US State Department offered a $10m (£6.4m) reward for anyone who could help bring Wuhayshi – who is believed to have been in his 30s – to justice. It said he was “responsible for approving targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources to training and attack planning, and tasking others to carry out attacks”. Wuhayshi, himself a Yemeni, travelled to Afghanistan in the late 1990s where he trained and went on to fight in the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001 before escaping into Iran.
There he was arrested and extradited to Yemen, where he was jailed until he escaped in 2006.

Greater and worse

He became head of al-Qaeda in Yemen and then head of AQAP when the Yemeni and Saudi branches of al-Qaeda merged in 2009. When Bin Laden was killed, Wuhayshi warned Washington that al-Qaeda was not dead. “What is coming is greater and worse, and what is awaiting you is more intense and harmful,” he said.

Since late January 2015, AQAP has lost a number of high-profile figures in US drone strikes – including religious official Harith al-Nadhari, religious official Ibrahim al-Rubaish, and religious and military official Nasser al-Ansi, along with lower ranking figures.

The proximity and precision of these assassinations has given rise to rumours in jihadist circles that AQAP has been infiltrated by spies.


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