Top Al Qaeda leader killed in Yemen

| Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 13:20
First Published |

Washington: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed last week in a US drone strike, media reported on Tuesday.

According to Yemeni security officials, tweets from AQAP operatives also spoke of al-Wuhayshi having been martyred, and of AQAP military commander Qasm al-Rimi (also known as Abu Hureira al-Sanaani) having been appointed as al-Wuhayshi's replacement, CNN reported.

US authorities are looking to confirm al-Wuhayshi's death, a US intelligence official said.

Al-Wuhayshi was the No.2 leader of Al Qaeda globally and the head of AQAP. 

In a video that surfaced in April last year, the man who was known as Al Qaeda's crown prince appeared brazenly out in the open, greeting followers.

In a speech to the group, al-Wuhayshi makes it clear that he's going after the U, saying "We must eliminate the cross. ... The bearer of the cross is America."

The video showed what looked like the largest and most dangerous gathering of Al Qaeda in years.

Originally from Yemen, al-Wuhayshi assumed command of AQAP in 2009. He'd escaped a Yemeni prison in 2006, and had previously worked as a personal secretary for Osama bin Laden.

Reports of al-Wuhayshi's death come followed after US planes carried out a strike inside Libya, purportedly killing a key terror figure in North Africa.

The target was Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran Islamist fighter, who is blind in one eye, affiliated with al Qaeda in North Africa, a US official told CNN.

The Libyan government said Belmokhtar was killed in the weekend strike. However, US officials have not confirmed the report as yet.

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