This ain’t a hoax! Al Qaeda’s number two man, Saeed al-Shihri, was killed in Yemen today by a US airstrike that also claimed the lives of five others traveling in a car with him.
US and Yemeni officials confirmed the death of al-Shihri, calling it a major breakthrough for US-backed efforts to cripple Al Qaeda in the impoverished Arab nation, reports AZ Central. Saeed al-Shihri was a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and did a six-year stint in Guantanamo Bay. Though US officials did not directly confirm US involvement in the strike (they usually don’t for a number of reasons) they confirmed that al-Shihri was killed by a missle after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt. Yemeni officials said that the missile was believed to have been fired by a US-operated, unmanned drone aircraft.
Al-Shihri was a terrorist, and considered “actively at war with the United States,” reports the Daily Kos. Since 2009, terrorists under his command have attempted to bomb airliners headed for the US four times.
According to military officials out of Yemen, al-Shihri’s body was identified by a local forensics team and US forensics experts on the ground. The officials from both the US and Yemeni governments spoke out on the condition of anonymity, because they were not allowed to discuss the events with the media.
Al-Shihri is the first high-profile terrorist target confirmed dead since a drone strike killed US-born Anwar al-Awlaki last year. After leaving Guantanamo in 2007, al-Shihri is believed to have gone through Saudi Arabia’s infamous “rehabilitation” institutes, an indoctrination program designed to replace militant ideology with religious moderation.