Report: Air strike kills senior Yemen al-Qaeda official

Announcement made in online video purportedly from Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch, SITE monitoring group says.

Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has reported the death of a senior figure, his eldest son and other fighters in a US air strike, the SITE Intelligence monitoring group has said.

SITE said on Thursday that according to an online video it had obtained, senior al-Qaeda official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi had been killed, along with several others in the port city of Mukalla last month.

Ansi, believed to have been close to late leader Osama bin Laden, had appeared in several of the group’s videos.

In a message on January 14, he said of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris that the “one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organisation”, without naming an individual.

Ansi had also called for Yemen’s Sunnis to confront the Houthi rebels, who have taken over large parts of the country since September.

AQAP, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of al-Qaeda, has exploited instability in the impoverished country since a 2011 uprising forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

In recent years the group has carried out a string of kidnappings against westerners, with several hostages still believed to be in captivity.

Source: News Agencies