A leader of the extremist network al-Qaeda has been killed in a suspected US airstrike in Yemen. Hamad bin Hamud al-Tamimi was killed on February 26 in a drone attack on his home in northern Yemen, al-Qaeda said on Sunday, according to the US company Site. Site specializes in monitoring Islamist websites.
Security and official circles also reported on the killing of al-Tamimi. He was one of the top leaders of the Yemeni Al-Qaeda affiliate (Aqap), the sources, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP. Aqap is considered by the US to be one of the most dangerous branches of al Qaeda.
Saudi Arabian citizen Al-Tamimi chaired the Aqap leadership council and acted as the group's "judge," the anonymous sources said. In the al-Qaeda statement cited by Site, al-Tamimi was referred to as a "media officer". Accordingly, a second "media officer" is said to have been killed in the attack in the northern Yemeni province of Marib.
Al-Tamimi used to direct "external operations," including attacks on US targets, the al-Qaeda statement said. According to Aqap, al-Tamimi previously spent four years in a Saudi Arabian prison before leaving for Yemen in 2013.
The US has been attacking Aqap with drones for two decades. However, the number of these US attacks had apparently declined in recent years.
The chaos of Yemen's civil war favors Aqap's activities in the country. The extremist Islamist group has attacked both warring factions, i.e. both the government troops and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Aqap has also occasionally carried out attacks in other countries from Yemen.