Al Qaeda confirms death of senior leader Tamimi in Marib air strike

Hamad bin Hamoud Al Tamimi led the branch the US regards as among the group's most dangerous

Hamad bin Hamoud Al Tamimi died in a drone strike aimed at his residence in Marib province
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Al Qaeda on Sunday confirmed the death of a senior leader in its Yemen branch in a suspected US air strike last month.

Hamad bin Hamoud Al Tamimi, a Saudi also known as Abdel Aziz Al Adnani, died in a drone strike on February 26 aimed at his residence in Marib province, Yemen.

Tamimi's death was reported on Wednesday by AFP, which cited security and local government sources who identified him as a top leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The US regards Aqap as among the group's most dangerous branches.

A statement from Aqap identified him as a “media official” who “previously managed external operations in the group, including those striking American interests”, according to monitoring organisation SITE Intelligence.

Aqap said Tamimi spent nearly four years in prison in Saudi Arabia before travelling to Yemen in 2013, where he expressed a desire to attack “vital” American interests and carry out a suicide attack himself.

The sources, requesting anonymity, told AFP Tamimi had headed Aqap's leadership council and acted as the militant group's “judge”.

SITE said the statement by the terrorist group had noted another media official, Abu Nasser Al Hadhrami, was “a victim of the attack”.

Aqap and rival militants loyal to ISIS have thrived in the chaos of Yemen's eight-year civil war, which pits the Saudi-backed government against Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

The group has carried out operations against both the Houthis and government forces as well as sporadic attacks abroad.

Its leaders have been targeted in a US drone war for more than two decades, but the number of reported strikes has dropped in recent years.

The February 26 attack came a month after three alleged Aqap militants were killed in another suspected US drone strike on a car, also in Marib province.

In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition intervened to back the government after the Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people and caused what the UN terms the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced.

Updated: March 05, 2023, 5:36 PM