USS Cole bomber reported to have been target of Yemen airstrike
Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al Quso (right), along with a journalist from Al Sharq al Awsat.
The New York Times adds additional details on yesterday's airstrike that targeted a police station occupied by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters. Fahd al Quso (identified as Fahd al-Qusaa), the wanted al Qaeda mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in 2000, may have been the target of the attack, according to "a person close" to AQAP:
According to both American and Yemeni officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the attacks in Yemen are rarely acknowledged publicly, the strike on Thursday hit a police station that had been occupied by 20 militant fighters in the town of Al Wadyia, in Abyan Province in southern Yemen. One Yemeni security official said that eight people had been killed, including the gathering's leader, identified as Hadi Mohammad Ali.
Separately, a person close to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group responsible for a wave of violence in Yemen and several terrorist plots against the United States, said an American strike on Thursday hit a car thought to be carrying Fahd al-Qusaa, a leader of the group and a suspect in the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole. The person said that Mr. Qusaa and a group of aides had left the car moments before the attack, and local residents said he had survived.
Quso was rumored to have been killed in a US Predator airstrike in Pakistan in September 2010. At The Long War Journal, we remained skeptical of these reports. On Dec. 7, the US State Department added Quso to the list of specially designed global terrorists, and the chief of State's Terrorist Designations Unit told The Long War Journal they did not believe reports that he was killed. Nine days later, Quso was interviewed by Al Sharq al Awsat and expressed surprise that people thought he was killed in Pakistan.
Quso is being sheltered by the Awlaki tribe, the same tribe that shelters US cleric and AQAP ideologue and operational commander Anwar al Awlaki. Quso has been identified as one of the AQAP operatives involved in the failed airline bombing attack over Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.
For more information on Quso, see LWJ and Threat Matrix reports: