Yemeni forces have killed Said al-Shihri, second in command of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Defense Ministry said Monday. An official military website cited a senior source saying al-Shihri was killed in an operation in Hadramawt Valley.
A Yemeni government official told CNN's Mohammad Jamjoom that an operation took place and a body appears to be that of al-Shihri, but that officials are waiting for DNA confirmation.
Al-Shihri was once held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In November 2007 he was transferred to Saudi custody, and underwent a program designed to lead people away from terrorism.
But despite travel restrictions requiring him to stay in Saudi Arabia, he left for Yemen, where he joined another former Guantanamo detainee to assume leadership of AQAP, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee said in a document about detainees who resume terrorism.
The U.S. State Department notes that he was publicly identified in January 2009 as the deputy leader of AQAP.
The killing comes at the same time of increased drone strikes over the last few weeks, including a drone strike that killed five suspected al Qaeda militants in Hadramawt province last week.