Official: Drone strike kills three Qaeda in Yemen, including Zawahiri’s close man

A drone strike killed three suspected al-Qaeda members including a leading figure in late afternoon east Yemen, a security official said.

The drone strike attacked a car carrying three members of al-Qaeda in Hadramout province, the security official said, requesting to remain anonymous.

The security official, citing security accounts in Mukalla city of Hadramout, said that one of the killed members was identified as Jamal Abdullah Saleh al-Nahdi. The other two members could not be recognized as they were charred, he said.

Al-Nahdi, the official said, is “described as a leading al-Qaeda figure who had been in the government top wanted list since 2007. “He is also known to have been one of the close men of al-Zawahiri [Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the global al-Qaeda network],” said the official.

The US government has increased its drone campaign against suspected al-Qaeda members in southern and eastern parts of the country, marking today’s strike the seventh in less than a month, said Mohammed Albasha, Spokesperson of Yemen Embassy in Washington D.C.

The information on the identity and background of the Al-Nahdi described by the official as the “leading figure” could not immediately be verified from another source. Run-state media usually give more details next day of the attacks.

Aden Al-Ghad, a local news site, had reported at 6 pm today about the drone strike. It said that two suspected al-Qaeda members were killed in the attack, giving no further details about the identities.

Al-Basha described the recent campaign against al-Qaeda as “the most intense Counter Terrorism campaign against al-Qaeda … Ever”.

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