World / Middle East

Top al-Qaida leader in Yemen killed by US drone

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-16 06:50

SANAA - Top al-Qaida leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, security sources told Xinhua on Monday night.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed along with several al-Qaida memebers in Mukalla city, the provincial capital of Yemen's southeastern Hadramount province on Friday, two security officials based in Sanaa told Xinhua. They asked to remain anonymous as they are not authorized to speak to media.

Local media confirmed his death, saying Qasim al-Raimi, AQAP military commander, was elected to replace al-Wuhayshi. However, the al-Qaida group has not released any statement.

It is a heavy blow to the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is considered by Washington as the most dangerous terrorist network in the Middle East.

Al-Wuhayshi, born in Yemen's southern province of al-Bayda, Osama Bin Laden's personal secretary during 1990s, fled Afghanistan to Iran in 2002, where he was arrested and repatriated to Yemen. He had been jailed in Sanaa until he escaped along with 22 other prisoners in February 2006 through a 44-meter tunnel.

He established AQAP in 2009 after the merger of Saudi and Yemeni branches, and declared in July 2011 the group's allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of al-Qaida's global network, after the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Under his leadership, the AQAP carried out a number of attacks on some Western countries, including a failed attempt to bomb a US-bound airliner and attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this year.


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