The Yemen-based al-Qaida said its prominent leader Fahd al-Quso, a globally wanted terrorist, was killed on Sunday in a U.S. air raid in the mountains of southeastern Shabwa province of the impoverished country.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida said its prominent leader Fahd al-Quso, a globally wanted terrorist, was killed on Sunday in a U.S. air raid in the mountains of southeastern Shabwa province of the impoverished country. [File Photo]
"Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) confirmed the killing of its leader Sheikh Fahd al-Quso al-Awlaki in a U.S. air strike on Sunday afternoon in Rafd area in Shabwa," the group said in a statement obtained by Xinhua.
A Yemeni security official in Ataq, capital city of Shabwa, told Xinhua by phone that al-Quso's nephew Fahed al-Akdam, another high-ranking member of the AQAP, was also killed in the air strike that targeted their vehicle.
Al-Quso was jailed in Yemen in 2002 for the involvement in attacking U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in the country's southern Aden port, in which 17 U.S. sailors were killed.
Abdul-Elah Haidar Shaiee, a Yemeni journalist who is in jail for links to the AQAP, told Xinhua that al-Quso said in an interview that he was assigned along with other members by slain al-Qaida leader Osma bin Laden to prepare for attacking the USS Cole.
According to Shaiee, al-Quso admitted that he collected information and prepared TNT explosives for a suicide boat that hit the U.S. warship.
The Yemeni security authorities released al-Quso from prison in 2007 and after two years, he was added to the list of the FBI's most wanted terrorists.
In 2010, the U.S. State Department labelled al-Quso as a specially designated global terrorist. He was also added to the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee's Consolidated List of Individuals associated with al-Qaida and the Taliban, an act requiring "all UN member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban and an arms embargo against this individual," according to the U.S. State Department.
Taking advantage of Yemen's one-year unrest, the AQAP has seized several cities in the country's southern and eastern provinces as deadly protests weakened control of the central government in remote regions.
The killing of al-Quso came one day after Yemeni President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi vowed to launch an all-out war against the AQAP.
"Our battle with al-Qaida has not started yet and will not be finished until all terrorists are wiped out of the country and the displaced people return to their homes safely," Hadi said Saturday in his first public speech since his inauguration in February.