Al-Qaeda leader killed in a battle in Yemen
SANA’A: A senior al-Qaeda leader was killed in Yemen’s central province of Marib while fighting alongside government forces battling Shia rebels, officials and tribal leaders said yesterday.
Ghalib al-Zaidi’s death came a week ago in an exchange of fire during clashes with the rebels known as Houthis in the Sirwah district of Marib, they said.
The officials and elders said al-Zaidi had dozens of al-Qaeda operatives under his command and had taken part in several battles against the Houthis in the province.
Last year, Al-Zaidi had been placed on the UN Security Council’s Sanctions list as a Yemen-based individual “who acts for or on behalf of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap).”
The UN found him to be providing the Yemeni affiliate of the global terror network with weapons, funding and recruits.
Al-Zaidi was also found to have helped Aqap to expand its control in parts of Marib. He had been the group’s leader in the province since 2015.
A recent AP investigation found that Saudi-led coalition members, through militias they back in Yemen, had struck secrets deals with al-Qaeda, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and looted cash.
Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself because they are considered to be exceptional fighters.
The US-backed Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Iran-allied rebels for more than three years. The coalition has long maintained that it’s committed to fighting terrorism in Yemen.
Aqap, based in Yemen, is considered the most dangerous branch of the terror network and had attempted attacks on US soil. But in the fight to defeat the Houthis, al-Qaeda militants are effectively on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition. – AP