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al-Qaeda’s No. 2 in Yemen reported killed
AHMED AL HAJ SANAA, Yemen
The Associated Press
PublishedThursday, Jan. 24 2013, 3:48 PM EST
Last updatedThursday, Jan. 24 2013, 3:52 PM EST
Yemen’s official news agency says al-Qaeda’s No. 2 in Yemen has died of wounds sustained in a drone attack last year in southern Yemen.
Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was wounded in a missile attack in the southern city of Saada on Nov. 28, according to SABA news agency.
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The agency said that he was in a coma since then. It was not clear when he actually died.
A security official said that the missile had been fired by a U.S.–operated, unmanned drone aircraft. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Last October, al-Shihri denied a September announcement by Yemen’s defence ministry that he had been killed in an army raid, in an audio message posted on extremist Internet forums.
The militant leader was released from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2007 and was flown to Saudi Arabia, where he was put through a rehabilitation programme.
After completing the programme, al-Shihri disappeared and later resurfaced as second-in-command of al-Qaeda in The Arabian Peninsula.
AQAP, led by Nasser al-Wuhayshi, is classified by the United States as the most active and deadly franchise in the global al-Qaeda network.
In October 2000, AQAP militants attacked the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen’s port of Aden, killing 17 sailors and wounding 40 more.
Although weakened, the group continues to launch deadly attacks on Western and government targets across Yemen.
With files from Agence France-Presse