A senior Al-Qaeda figure was killed in a suspected US air strike in war-torn Yemen, security and local government sources told AFP on Wednesday. Hamad bin Hamoud al-Tamimi, a top leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which Washington regards as among the global jihadist network’s most dangerous branches, died in the strike along with a bodyguard, a security official said, requesting anonymity.
The air strike, targeting a house in the northern province of Marib that al-Tamimi had recently rented, was “apparently American”, the official said.
A Marib government official, also speaking anonymously, confirmed the deaths.
Tamimi, a Saudi also known as Abdel Aziz al-Adnani, headed up AQAP’s leadership council and acted as the militant group’s “judge”, the sources said.
The “president of the consultative council and judge, known as Abdel Aziz al-Adnani, was killed with a Yemeni bodyguard”, the Marib official said.
AQAP, and rival militants loyal to the Islamic State group, have thrived in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Iran-allied Huthi rebels.
AQAP has carried out operations against both the Huthis and government forces as well as sporadic attacks abroad.
Its leaders have been targeted by a US drone war for more than two decades, although the number of strikes has dropped off in recent years.
The attack comes a month after three alleged AQAP militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike on a car in Marib province.
Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition intervened to back the government after the Huthis seized control of the capital Sanaa.
The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people and triggered what the United Nations terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced.