Kaid al Dhahab, the new AQAP emir for Baydah province. Photo from The Yemen Post.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a statement that noted the death of Tariq al Dhahab, the commander who took control of Rada’a in Baydah province last month. Tariq was gunned down in a mosque by one of his older brothers, Hazam, a senior tribal leader in the town who was concerned that Tariq’s affiliation with AQAP would bring down the wrath of the Yemeni government.
The AQAP statement was released on jihadist forums on Feb. 19 and was translated by the SITE Intelligence group. SITE astutely noted that AQAP “didn’t acknowledge the identity of the killer, saying instead that Tariq and the others were killed ‘at the hands of some of those who were pushed by the agent regime of Sana’a.'” AQAP also did not mention that Tariq’s followers killed Hazam and others at his home. From the statement, which also notes that two other “brothers” (they appear to be cousins, according to this Yemen Post report) of the Dhahab family who supported AQAP were also killed:
The Emir Sheikh Tariq al-Dhahab, who is a Quraishi descendant, and his blood brother Ahmed and brother Ali al-Qaydhi were martyred after a long journey full of support for the Shariah and the religion, and they were killed at the hands of some of those who were pushed by the agent regime of Sana’a.
The mujahideen, with grace from Allah, were able to take revenge against those who killed them, detonating an explosives-laden vehicle that tore apart their bodies and ended their evil.
The Yemen Post reported yesterday that Kaid al Dhahab has taken control of AQAP in the province, and along with his brother Nabil they “are now trying to regroup Al-Qaeda elements.”