New US drone strike kills top Al-Qaeda commander in Yemen

AL-MUKALLA: A senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, the terror group admitted

New US drone strike kills top Al-Qaeda commander in Yemen
Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Tamimi, also known as Abdel Aziz Al-Adnani, headed up AQAP’s leadership council and acted as the militant group’s ‘judge.’ (Twitter/Arab News Photo)

The attack targeted Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Tamimi, also known as Abdel Aziz Al-Adnani, at his home in the central Marib province on Feb. 26.

Militant sources said Tamimi spent nearly four years in prison in Saudi Arabia before traveling to Yemen in 2013. An Al-Qaeda ideology and media officer, he headed AQAP’s leadership council and was the group’s“judge.”

His death was the second major blow to Al-Qaeda in Yemen in just over a month. On Jan. 30, a US drone killed three Al-Qaeda operatives, including the notorious bomb maker Hussein Hadboul.

Elisabeth Kendall, a terrorism expert and mistress of Girton College at the University of Cambridge, told Arab News that Al-Tamimi’s death was a significant loss for Al-Qaeda. “He was both talented and prolific, operating in the dual realms of jihadi media and jurisprudence. He spearheaded media initiatives like the video interview with AQAP leader Khalid Batarfi in November 2021,” she said.

Batarfi is now the most senior AQAP chief left alive. US drones have eliminated key commanders and scores of younger militants since early 2015 at the height of the group’s military push through southern and central Yemen, Kendall said. “AQAP has hemorrhaged leaders in recent years, largely as a result of drone strikes. While new leaders can always be found, the pool of candidates with solid experience is dwindling,” she said.

Yemeni security and military officials say the presence of Al-Qaeda leaders in Marib province suggested that they were launching operations from there against government forces in the south.

Mohammed Al-Naqeeb, a spokesman for the separatist Southern Transitional Council whose forces are battling Al-Qaeda in the southern province of Abyan, called for military action and intensified airstrikes against Al-Qaeda in Marib. “Targeting the heads of terrorism in Marib is essential,” he said, Arab News wrote.

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