Yemeni Al-Qaeda: Key Leader Killed in ‘Crusader Airstrike’

Slain Leader Was Former Gitmo Detainee

Though the details of exactly what happened remain unclear, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group based in war-torn Yemen, reported that one of their top leaders, Ibrahim al-Rubaish, was killed in a “crusader airstrike” on Monday night.

It’s not clear from the comments who the “crusaders” are in this case, as there have yet to be reports of a US drone strike at that time, and indeed US strikes seemed to have halted so as not to get in the way of the Saudi war against Yemen.

The Saudi-born Rubaish was held for years at Guantanamo Bay by the US, and was eventually repatriated to Saudi Arabia, where he was meant to remain imprisoned. He escaped the Saudis, however fleeing to Yemen and quickly rising in the ranks of AQAP.

It is unclear what his specific role within AQAP was, and similarly how much his death will actually impact the faction. Rubaish’s public presence since his escape from Saudi Arabia has largely been rhetorical, calling for attacks on Saudi royal family members and the US in statements.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of