Adding to the number of unconfirmed kills in the war on terror, US officials say
they have “indications” that a top al-Qaeda figure may have been killed in one of the recent drone strikes in North Waziristan.
The al-Qaeda member in question, Hussein al-Yemeni, is being presented as “an important al-Qaeda planner.” Officials also say they believe Yemeni probably had ties with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as well as several different Taliban factions in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Though it is unclear where they drew this conclusion, officials seem convinced that Yemeni was also involved in the December 30 attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, an attack which killed several CIA agents.
Yemeni’s history is vague at best, and he is heretofore a virtually unknown figure in the al-Qaeda organizations. The only mention of a Hussein al-Yemeni in the past was in 2005, when officials said they believed to have killed a man by that name in Iraq, identified as one of the top members of al-Qaeda in Iraq. It is unclear if this is the same person, however.
With little reliable intelligence in the region, speculation about who was or wasn’t killed in the various drone strikes is often proven untrue, and many times a “key” figure in a militant group will be “killed” several times only to reemerge.