MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - Yemeni authorities announced again on Thursday that the second in command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a counterterrorism operation, Al Arabiya reported.
Last September, Yemen’s Defense Ministry said Saudi national Saeed Ali al-Shihri was killed along with six other militants in a special operation in Hadramout province, but the information was rejected by Shihri himself the following month in an audio message posted on extremist Internet forums.
This time Yemen’s Supreme National Security Committee said Shihri was killed in an airstrike during a special operation on November 28 last year and his body was buried by al-Qaeda network at a secret location in Yemen.
Al-Shihri has been held in the infamous U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay for six years. In November 2007 he was handed over to Saudi custody, and underwent a “rehabilitation” program designed to teach religious moderation.
Upon the completion of the program, al-Shihri left for Yemen, despite travel restrictions to stay in Saudi Arabia.
He was publicly identified in January 2009 as the deputy leader of AQAP.
Al-Qaeda in Yemen, which is considered the world’s most active, has been linked to several attempted attacks on U.S. targets in the past three years, including the foiled Christmas Day bombing of an airliner over Detroit in 2009.