January 24th, 2013
05:05 AM ET

Drone strike kills six suspected militants in Yemen

By Hakim Almasmari

A U.S. drone strike on a vehicle just outside the capital of Sanaa killed six suspected al-Qaeda militants Wednesday night, three Yemeni Defense Ministry officials told CNN.

The strike took place in Al-Masna'a village of Khawlan district, 35 kilometers southeast of the capital. Three of the killed were senior members of al Qaeda, two of whom were Saudi nationals, the officials said.

Security teams were deployed to the scene, one of the officials said.

"Yemen needs stability and these militants must be killed if Yemen has a chance to stabilize, " said a Defense Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • drones • Yemen
Report: Top al Qaeda leader killed
A screen shot of a video shows Al-Qaeda's Said al-Shihri on October 6, 2010.
January 23rd, 2013
06:21 AM ET

Report: Top al Qaeda leader killed

By Hakim Almasmari

The deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and one of the most wanted men in Saudi Arabia has been killed, a prominent jihadist announced Tuesday, though officials in the group's home base of Yemen said they had no evidence of his death.

Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, also known as Saeed al-Shahri, died "after a long journey in fighting the Zio-Crusader campaign," jihadist Abdulla bin Muhammad said on his Twitter account. The tweet was reported by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors global terrorism.

It was not clear how al-Azdi died. SITE said media reports indicated he died of injuries incurred in a December drone strike.

The Arabic news network Al-Arabiya reported al-Azdi's death, citing his relatives.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
Al Qaeda figure comes back to life in Yemen
October 23rd, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Al Qaeda figure comes back to life in Yemen

By Tim Lister and Hakim Almasmari

One of the Bond movies had the title "You Only Live Twice," but in the case of one of al Qaeda's most dangerous operatives even that may be a serious underestimate.

Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri was - or is - the second most senior figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Last month, the Yemeni Defense Ministry announced al-Shihri had been killed "in an operation" in the Hadramawt Valley, a stronghold of AQAP in the south of the country.

But al-Shihri appears to have resurfaced with a defiant audio message.

In the message - called "Events and Lessons" and released by AQAP's media wing, Al-Malahem, on Monday - a speaker purported to be al-Shihri declares: "What has been reported in various media outlets regarding my death in the Arabian Peninsula is a rumor to cover the killing of innocent unarmed Muslims in Yemen."

Al-Shihri (if it was him) accused the Yemeni government of being an American puppet. FULL POST

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Filed under: AQAP • Terrorism • Yemen
Senior al Qaeda operative killed by airstrike in Yemen
USS Cole bombing from October 12, 2000
May 6th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Senior al Qaeda operative killed by airstrike in Yemen

By Hakim Almasmari for CNN

A senior operative of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula wanted for his role in the USS Cole bombing was killed by an airstrike in Yemen on Sunday, the Yemeni Embassy in Washington said.

Fahd al Quso, 37, was killed in Shabwa province, according to the embassy.

In addition to being one of the most-wanted terrorists in Yemen, the FBI had offered a $5 million reward for any information leading to al Quso's capture.

Al Quso was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 2003 on 50 counts of terrorism offenses for his role in the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen. The bombing killed 17 U.S. sailors.

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Filed under: AQAP • Terrorism • Yemen
Yemeni opposition leader eludes assassination try, party says
July 20th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Yemeni opposition leader eludes assassination try, party says

The leader of Yemen's largest opposition party escaped an assassination attempt on Wednesday, the Islah party said.

Bullets were fired at Mohammed Yadoumi, president of the Islah party. The incident comes amid widespread tensions in the country, where anti-government forces have been demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh from his position.

The Joint Meeting Parties, an umbrella group of six opposition parties of which Islah is a member, condemned the assassination attempt, which took place in Sanaa, the capital. The JMP blamed the government and said the act will deepen the country's political crisis.

Hasan Zaid, the secretary general of the Haq party, another opposition movement, also condemned the act and said Yadoumi has been a main pillar in efforts to forge a political solution in Yemen.

Efforts by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to develop a plan that would end the political stalemate between the government and opposition forces have failed.

"Any attack on any senior opposition leader is a direct attack at all the leaders of the JMP," said Zaid, whose group is one of the six entities in the Joint Meeting Parties.

Saleh himself survived an assassination attempt last month and has been in neighboring Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Along with a countrywide, grass-roots anti-government movement, the Yemeni government has been fighting militant groups, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Filed under: Yemen