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Friday, 6 February 2015

AQAP says - Senior Al Qaeda cleric has been killed in Yemen drone strike

A senior cleric for al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen was killed along with three other people in a drone strike on their vehicle January 31 in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said Thursday.

The cleric, Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari, was killed in Yemen's south-central Shabwa province, AQAP said.

The strike would be a further indication that a U.S.-led drone strike program is continuing following a pause during political upheaval in the majority Sunni Muslim nation.

The United States has long conducted drone strikes against AQAP targets under the Obama administration. But the New America Foundation, which tracks the strikes, says there was a nearly two-month pause in the strikes in late 2014 and early 2015 as Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels moved against Yemen's U.S.-backed government.

That uprising culminated in the resignation of Yemeni government's top leaders in mid-January. A week later, the U.S. drone strikes resumed, with a strike east of the capital, Sanaa, three U.S. officials said at the time.

Al-Nadhari made headlines in November when he inserted himself into a rivalry between al Qaeda and ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS has captured parts of Syria and Iraq for what it calls its Islamic caliphate. In mid-November, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued an audiotape saying his Islamic State had expanded to Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.

Al-Nadhari responded harshly in a video a week later, saying al-Baghdadi's declaration of an Islamic caliphate was illegitimate. read further here




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