11 Sep 2012

Al-Qaeda deputy reported killed in Yemen

6:02 am on 11 September 2012

Security forces in southern Yemen are reported to have killed the man described as the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Said al-Shihri, a Saudi national, was released by the United States from detention in Guantanamo Bay in 2007.

The ministry of defence website said al-Shihri was killed along with six others in an operation, but gave few details.

Official sources in Yemen told the BBC the death occurred in an air raid in the Wadi Ain area of Hadramawt.

Military sources, however, said they had no information on the death and refused to confirm it.

The BBC reports Yemen has previously announced it had killed al-Shihri and his death this time has not been confirmed.

He was said to have escaped a US drone attack on 20 September last year on the village of al-Mahfad in Abyan province.

AQAP was formed in January 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of al-Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

It is led by Nasser Abdul Karim al-Wuhayshi, a former personal assistant to Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Al-Wuhayshi took over after two earlier leaders, Khaled Ali Hajj and Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin, were killed by Saudi security forces.

In October 2010, the group was accused of sending bombs hidden in two packages addressed to synagogues in Chicago which were found on planes in Dubai and in Britain.