US offers $10m reward for information on Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen

One of those wanted, Saad bin Atef Al Awlaki, leads the terror group in Shabwah province

A composite image of Saad bin Atef Al Awlaki, head of the Al Qaeda's operations in Yemen’s Shabwah province, on the left and Ibrahim Ahmed Al Qosi who assists Al Qaeda's overall leaders in Yemen on the right. US Rewards for Justice, HO
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The US offered a reward of up to $10 million (Dh36.7m) for information on two leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The State Department said it would pay up to $6m for leads on Saad bin Atef Al Awlaki, head of the terrorist group's operations in Yemen’s Shabwah province, and up to $4m for Ibrahim Ahmed Al Qosi who assists Aqap’s overall leader.

The two men have publicly called for attacks against the US.

Al Qosi has been an Al Qaeda member for decades and worked for its previous leader, Osama bin Laden. He was captured in Pakistan in December 2001 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

He pleaded guilty to terror charges in 2010 but the US released and “returned him to Sudan in 2012 pursuant to a pre-trial agreement”.

The news comes 10 days after two tribesmen suspected of having links to Al Qaeda were killed in a US drone strike in Marib province.

They were named by a local journalist as Khamis bin Arfaj and his brother, Turki.

Meanwhile, sources in Sayoun, a city in Hadramawt province, told The National that Qaboos bin Talib, a local Aqap leader, appeared at a public market in the area last week, where he made threats against pro-government forces.

“He stormed a fuel station and fuelled his military vehicle and shot in the air, threatening the Saudi-led Coalition forces with more deadly attacks,” one source said.

Salem Al Hadrami, a media activist from Hadramawt, told The National that terrorists had been trying to move between that province, and Shabwah and Al Bayda through the desert and mountains.

“Al Qaeda has not formally claimed any attacks in Shabwah this year,” said Elisabeth Kendall, a Yemen expert at the University of Oxford.

"The unrest in Shabwah looks more linked to disputes over resources and power.

“Shabwah hosts Yemen's only natural gas terminal and there are local tribal groups who believe their land and resources are exploited without sufficient benefit to locals."