Shiri’s latest audio recording. The 14-minute audio produced by AQAP’s media arm Al-Malahem Foundation is accompanied by what the US-based SITE Monitoring Service said was a new photograph. The recording was posted to Jihadi forums on Tuesday.
Below is my interview with the Abyan source along with links to related, yet vague news about Shihri’s death.
The source is a former al-Qaeda official responsible for ‘financial matters’. After being imprisoned by the Yemeni Government for a year, he left the group but maintains good relations with them. He requested to remain anonymous.
I’ve known as a source for two years and he has always been truthful and accurate. While somtimes sympathetic with al-Qaeda, he is quite rational in his thinking and discriminating in his analysis. He confirmed to me that Shihri was alive shortly after the Yemeni government announced he was killed last December. http://www.yobserver.com/front-page/10022292.html
Q: Who told you Shihri was alive?
Someone I met told me that the man is alive and that he was injured but survived.
His family in Saudi Arabia was told he was injured but the family believed him to be dead and that’s why the Saudi media reported about it first. Part of what the Saudi media [Al Arabiya & Al Hayat] reported was true. He was injured in Sa’ada and went into a coma.
Q: How did you contact that source?
“I moved to an area in which I met a man who said he [Shihri] suffered an injury but thank god [that he survived].
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: He was reticent when asked about specific locations and declined to elaborate further]
Q: Why do you believe the group didn’t confirm, deny or comment on al-Shihri’s death?
They think it’s better not to say anything about it [killing of Shihri].
[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Other affiliates and al-Qaeda experts believe the group would not have commented on al-Shihri’s death at that moment. They have their own explanations. Follow this story I wrote to see another experts’ analysis:http://www.yobserver.com/front-page/10022402.html]
Q: What kind of injury did he suffer?
[AUTHORS NOTE: Source did not respond]
Q: Did he lose a hand, a leg, an eye?
I prefer not to say
Q: How was he treated and who hospitalized him?
He underwent special treatment of the group. They have Syrian doctors.
Q:Why did Shihri move to Sa’ada?
They always keep moving: Sa’ada, al-Jawf, Arhab, Shabwa, etc.
Q: When did you know that he’s still alive?
20 days after he was reported dead, I went on a trip and stayed in a village, where I met the man who told me about it.
Q: How close is that man to Shihri? Does he know with certainty Shiri’s condition and the details surrounding his injury?
He is close to him and was with him [Shihri] when he was injured.
Q: Does the man you meet have any idea why you are interested in knowing about Shihri?
He has no idea that I have any contact with the media or anything of that sort. He’s straightforward, and talked to me spontaneously.
Q: Do you think the group will say anything about Shihri?
Right now, I don’t think they will say anything about it. After the National Dialogue, however, many things [about the group] will be unearthed.
[End of 15-minute interview, conducted Feb. 17, 2013 via phone.]
Here are links to news about Shihri’s death. Saudi media, which broke on Jan. 22, http://alhayat.com/Details/475224 said Shihri was killed on the 2nd week of December 2012. Two days later, the Yemeni Government issued a statement of Shihr’s death with the same account as published by Saudi media yet stated that November 28, 2012 as the day on which Shihri was killed.
Also, one day after the Yemeni Government announced his death, the Saudi government–as stated here http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2013/01/25/262398.html— stated it needed a proof of Shihri’s death. The news said: “Saudi security services do not consider such information, nor close any case of wanted people until it gets conclusive evidence that confirms one’s death or shows he’s arrested. Otherwise, he remains wanted and treated like any other dangerous.”