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SENIOR AL QAEDA, ALLEGEDLY, KILLED IN YEMEN

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Yemen has launched an air strike, on Friday 01/15/2010, against a suspected Al Qaeda cell in the north of the country, killing six militants, including Qassim al-Raimi, the defence ministry said, but it was not confirmed by any other source.

Qassim al-Raimi, one of the Sanaa jail escapees (see – Sanaa Escape), is believed to be Al Qaeda’s military commander in Yemen. A security official quoted by Reuters said: “Two cars carrying eight dangerous al-Qaeda members were hit… two may have survived and escaped.”

The French news agency, AFP, quoted a senior official as saying the incident happened at Al-Ajashir, a desert region in the Eastern part of Saada province.

In addition to Qassim al-Raimi, the official named three of the others who died as Ammar al-Waili, Ayed al-Shabwani, considered to be Al Qaeda’s commander in Marib Province (see – Marib 11.21.09),Saleh al-Tais, Egyptian Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh al-Banna and an unidentified sixth person were also killed. The house of Ayed al-Shabwani was destroyed by Yemeni forces, on Wednesday 01/20/2010. .

On Wednesday 01/13/2010, another Al Qaeda chief – Abdullah Mehdar – was reported killed in a gunfight when Yemeni security forces surrounded a house in Shabwa province (see – Shabwa 01.13.10).

Security operations against alleged militants were stepped up after the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said it carried out the failed Flight-253 bomb attack on a US-bound airliner on 12/24/2009.

Analysts say Al Qaeda militants have been moving to Yemen after coming under pressure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and following a crackdown in Saudi Arabia.
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