Fahd al-Quso: U.S. Drone Strike Kills Top Al-Qaeda Leader
A U.S. drone strike in Yemen on Sunday has claimed the life of a top al-Qaeda official, Fahd al-Quso. Al-Quso has been on the FBI’s most wanted list, with a $5 million reward for his role in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole.
The bombing of the USS Cole took place in Aden, Yemen, and resulted in the deaths of 17 soldiers, and injured 39 others. While the al-Qaeda official spent time in a Yemeni prison for the attack, he was released in 2007.
The AP reports that the airstrike took place when al-Quso was stepping out of his car in a remote valley in Yemen. An aide who was reportedly with him at the time is also dead. A text message that was reported to be from al-Qaeda confirmed the strike and death.
Al-Quso, 37, was also publicly linked to the 2009 Christmas airliner attack. He is the most senior al-Qaeda official to be linked to the attack, which failed.
He supposedly met with suspected bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Yemen before he left to attempt the bombing over Detroit.
Yemeni official Abu Bakr bin Farid, and also the Yemeni Embassy in Washington have confirmed that al-Quso dies in Rafd, which is a remote mountain valley in Shabwa. He was also designated as a global terrorist by the State Department, a confirmation that he had become a more prominent figure in the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda.
Many al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding in the remote mountainous area, including Anwar al-Aslaki, a U.S.-born cleric who was killed in a similar U.S. airstrike in Yemen in 2011.
Al-Quso and al-Awlaki were from the same tribe, and Fahd al-Quso reportedly began his relations with al-Qaeda over a decade ago, when he first met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. The former al-Qaeda reportedly told him to “eliminate the infidels from the Arabian Peninsula.”