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Yemeni gov't says AQAP No. 2 leader dies of injuries


08:50, January 25, 2013

SANAA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni government on Thursday said the second-in-command of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP), Saeed al-Shihri, had died of injuries he sustained from an airstrike in November last year, the state Saba news agency reported.

"As part of anti-terrorism efforts by the Yemeni government in coordination with its international partners, the security services managed to carry out an airstrike on Nov. 28, 2012 in ( Yemen's) northern province of Saada, which resulted in injuring Saudi national Saeed al-Shihri, and later he died of his wounds," Saba said, citing an official statement by the country's Supreme Security Committee.

"The slain terrorist al-Shihri has been buried in an undisclosed location," it said without giving further details.

The AQAP has yet to confirm it.

On Sep. 10, 2012, the Yemeni government announced the killing of al-Shihri in a military operation in the southeastern province of Hadramout, but he appeared on Oct. 22 in a video message to deny the government allegations.

Al-Shihri, a Saudi national and AQAP's No. 2 leader, was the main target of several military raids over the past months.

Al-Shihri had served a prison term in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo before he was deported to Saudi Arabia, where he fled to Yemen along with other hundreds of Saudi wanted militants to form the AQAP in January 2009.

The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), took advantage of a political upheaval in 2011 in Yemen to take over several towns of the southern restive regions.

The militants were recently either captured or killed by the Yemeni security authorities after a U.S.-backed offensive launched in the southern Abyan province months ago routed the militants out of their strongholds that they had controlled for nearly a year.

The Yemeni government along with the United states and oil-rich Saudi Arabia have beefed up anti-terror operation since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February 2012.

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