Al-Qaeda leader killed in a bat­tle in Ye­men

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - WORLD -

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

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