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Al-Qaida's Second in Command in Yemen Killed

  • VOA News

This image taken from an undated video posted on a militant-leaning Web site Jan. 23, 2009, and provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, shows Said Ali al-Shehri.

This image taken from an undated video posted on a militant-leaning Web site Jan. 23, 2009, and provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, shows Said Ali al-Shehri.

The Yemeni government says its forces have killed the second-in-command of al-Qaida's Yemen-based network.

Said al-Shehri

  • Saudi national captured in Pakistan in 2001
  • Transferred to Guantanamo Bay detention facility and held until 2007
  • Told Guantanamo authorities he would work in his family's furniture store if released
  • Transferred to Saudi Arabia, went to a government rehabilitation center to de-radicalize militants
  • Surfaced in a 2009 video marking the merger of al-Qaida's Saudi and Yemeni wings into al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula
A Yemeni defense ministry website reported Monday that Said al-Shehri, a Saudi national, was one of several militants killed during an army operation in Hadramout province in eastern Yemen. No other details were provided.

Al-Qaida's Yemen-based network, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, remains active in southern Yemen. Suspected militants have carried out suicide bombings and targeted Yemeni government officials for assassination.

The network is also suspected of planning attacks on U.S. interests, including a failed plot in 2010 to blow up U.S.-bound cargo planes with explosives hidden in printer ink cartridges.

A Yemeni security source told Reuters that Shehri was killed in the operation last Wednesday and that a U.S. drone was involved. Unmanned aircraft provided by the United States have been assisting Yemeni forces fighting against al-Qaida and other militants in remote sections of Yemen.

Shehri had been a prisoner at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He was turned over to Saudi Arabia's custody in 2007 and sent to a rehabilitation program for militants run by Saudi authorities.

In recent years, Shehri has recorded messages on behalf of al-Qaida threatening violence against Saudi Arabian nationals, Israeli targets and Yemen's government.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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