AFP
Last updated: 20 October, 2012

Yemen drone strike kills Qaeda leader

A top member of Al-Qaeda network in Yemen has died of wounds suffered in a drone strike carried out earlier this month in the eastern province of Shabwa, a tribal chief said on Saturday.

Adel al-Abab, also known as Abu al-Zubair, and who was said to have been the sharia (Islamic law) chief in the Al-Qaeda Yemen branch, died hours after he was targeted by a drone in the village of Saeed in Shabwa, the tribal chief said.

The drone strike was carried out earlier in October, he said, without specifying the exact date, but added that several militants including an Egyptian member of the jihadist organisation were killed in it.

Abab jumped out of his car and ran away when he saw the drone “but he was hit in the head by a shrapnel,” the tribal leader said.

“We buried Abab and an Egyptian comrade in a cemetery in Saeed, while other dead (militants) were taken to their villages,” he added.

US drones that are deployed in the region have backed Yemeni forces in combating militants of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who remain active in the impoverished nation.

Al-Qaeda took advantage of the weakness of Yemen’s central government during an uprising last year against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south.

But after a month-long offensive in May launched by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.