Yemen: No. 2 al Qaeda leader in Arabian Peninsula killed
January 24, 2013 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
- Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader in Arabia was Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, also named Saeed al-Shahri
- Yemen confirms he was killed in a November counter-terrorism operation
- A jihadist had tweeted the death earlier this week, SITE Intelligence Group says
- Al-Azdi was buried by militants at an undisclosed place in Yemen, officials say
(CNN) -- The second-in-command of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was killed in a recent counter-terrorism operation, the Yemeni government confirmed Thursday.
Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, also known as Saeed al-Shahri, died after being wounded in the governorate of Saadah on November 28, said the Supreme National Security Committee of Yemen. He was also one of the most wanted men in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Azdi was buried by militants linked to al Qaeda at an undisclosed location inside Yemen, the government said in a statement.
Read more: Drone kills 6 suspected militants in Yemen
The confirmation comes a day after a prominent jihadist announced that al-Azdi died "after a long journey in fighting the Zio-Crusader campaign."
That jihadist was Abdulla bin Muhammad, who used his Twitter account to report the purported death. The tweet was reported by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors global terrorism.
Al-Azdi was co-founder and deputy emir of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and had "survived multiple operations in the past," the government said.
Al-Azdi "was a coconspirator in a number of AQAP foreign operations and was possibly involved in the kidnappings and killings of foreigners in Yemen," the government said. "Dozens of brave Yemeni officers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in this ongoing war. Yemen remains committed to fighting terrorism and eradicating extremism."
This week, the Arabic news network Al-Arabiya also reported al-Azdi's death, citing his relatives. But three senior Yemeni defense ministry officials told CNN the country then had no evidence proving his death.
Al-Azdi had been falsely reported dead in the past, the latest incident being in September when Yemen claimed he was killed in an air raid. An audio message released the next month supposedly featured al-Azdi saying he was still alive.
Al-Azdi spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay before being released in 2007. A Saudi national, he escaped Saudi Arabia to Yemen in 2008.
Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi announced in October that Yemen would step up its military operations with the United States against al Qaeda operatives. U.S. drone activity increased in 2012 targeting senior leaders of AQAP.
At the same time, al Qaeda carried out a number of attacks on military and security commanders, personnel, patrols and installations, killing more than 60 people, according to Yemen's Interior Ministry.
CNN's Hakim Almasmari contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories