Saad Al Shihri, Saudi citizen, former Guantanamo inmate, deputy leader and founding member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Senior U.S. officials are confirming that the No. 2 al-Qaida leader in Yemen has been killed, dealing a major blow to the terror group.More info here:
The officials said Saeed al-Shihri was killed, but could not confirm any U.S. involvement in the airstrike Monday that Yemeni leaders say killed the terrorist and five others.
Yemeni officials said the missile that killed al-Shihri, who was a Saudi national, was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft. The U.S. doesn't usually comment on such attacks although it has used drones in the past to go after al-Qaida members in Yemen.
Two U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to the news media.
In 2009, al-Shihri appeared in a video with Nasser al Wuhayshi (Bin Laden's former personal aide) to announce that Al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia and Yemen were joining to form 'Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.'
More than any other affiliate, AQAP is really an extension of the Al Qaeda Central leadership in Pakistan. Its leadership composed largely of trained, seasoned Al Qaeda operatives from the pre-9/11 Afghanistan years of the group. The same cannot be said of so-called Al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq, Somalia, North Africa.
Al-Shihri was a terrorist actively at war with the United States. Four times since 2009 terrorists under his command have attempted to bomb airliners headed for the United States. Including the underwear bomber and the plot broken up by the CIA in April of this year.
On April 16, 2009...four days after Navy SEALs rescued Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, al-Shihri called upon pirate groups to join Al Qaeda and wage jihad at sea.
His death is significant, as it further reduces Al Qaeda's 'bench' of operatives who had received training in the original Afghan training camps.