Al Qaeda Leader Linked to USS Cole Attack Killed in Airstrike in Yemen
(WASHINGTON) -- The government of Yemen says an airstrike has killed a top al Qaeda leader who was on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list because of his role in the attack on the USS Cole. The October 2000 bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer killed 17 American sailors and injured 39.
The Embassy of Yemen in Washington issued a press release on Sunday saying Fahd al Quso, 37, was killed in an “airstrike” in Rafth, in the southern province of Shabwa.
The release described him as “a leading figure in the terrorist organization: al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” It also said “Al Quso was one of Yemen’s most wanted terrorist(s). He was also indicted for his role in the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden.”
A U.S. official described al Quso to ABC News as a “senior terrorist operative” of AQAP who was “deeply involved in ongoing terrorist plotting against Yemeni and U.S. interests at the time of his death.” He also described him as being “involved in numerous attacks over many years that murdered Americans as well as Yemeni men, women, and children.”
There was no mention of who conducted the airstrike, but in the past a non-attribution airstrike usually implies that it was conducted by the either the CIA or the U.S. military.
The CIA and the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command both conduct Predator drone strikes in Yemen targeting AQAP operatives. U.S. officials say the majority of the recent strikes have been conducted by the CIA.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio