AQAP Confirms Senior Leader’s Death in Yemen Drone Strike

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Yemeni arm of al-Qaeda said on Thursday that one of its leading members had been killed by a US drone strike while traveling in a car in the southern province of Shabwa on January 31.

Three other fighters were also killed in the strike, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said in statement posted on Twitter.

AQAP named the three others as Said Bafaraj, Abdelsamie al-Haddaa and Azzam al-Hadrami.

Al-Qaeda senior leader Sheikh Harith bin Ghazi al-Nathari was on AQAP's legal committee and served as an adviser on legal and religious affairs, the statement said.

On January 9, after AQAP claimed responsibility for attack on France's Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, Nathari in a video message threatened France with more attacks, saying, "it is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely.”

Despite a political crisis in Yemen, US President Barack Obama on January 25 vowed no let-up in Washington's campaign against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

He ruled out a US troop deployment in Yemen but said Washington would continue "to go after high value targets inside Yemen."

According to Western sources, at least 11 al-Qaeda suspected militants have been killed in three drone strikes in central and southern Yemen since Obama's statement.

Human rights organizations have raised deep concerns about US drone strikes in Yemen. Critics have denounced the impact the attacks have had on Yemeni civilians, who have been killed or seen their homes destroyed.

On January 27, a Yemeni rights group said a sixth grade student was among those who killed in January 26 US drone strike east of the capital Sanaa.

In December 2013, a US drone strike on a wedding convoy in Yemen killed 17 people, mostly civilians.

The United States counts any male of military age killed in drone strikes as “militants,” regardless of their actual involvement with al-Qaeda.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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