The Associated Press reported that Ibrahim Hassan Tali al Asiri, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s senior bomb maker, may have been killed in the same strike that killed Anwar al Awlaki and possibly Samir Khan. The report has not been confirmed. I heard some speculation Friday evening about Asiri being killed, but nothing definitive. From the AP report:
Two US officials say the drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki appears to have also killed al-Qaida’s top Saudi bomb-maker.
Officials say intelligence indicates Ibrahim al-Asiri also died in the attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the death has not been officially confirmed.
Asiri may have well been with Awlaki and Khan, as he has produced propaganda for AQAP in the past. In December 2010, Asiri announced the death of Abu Hammam Qahtani, the founder of Sada al Malahim, AQAP’s print magazine.
The US added Asiri to the list of designated terrorists in March of this year. Asiri is best known for assembling the explosive device that was used by his brother, who in some circles is known as the ‘anal bomber.’ From the LWJ report on Asiri’s designation:
Asiri was described by State as the “primary bomb maker” for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Prior to joining AQAP’s operations in Yemen, Asiri was a member of an “al Qaeda affiliated terrorist cell” that plotted to attack oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
Asiri is currently wanted by the Saudi government for his role in the attempted assassination of Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Deputy Minister of the Interior. Asiri designed and assembled the bomb used by his brother, Abdullah Hassan al Asiri, in the Feb. 3, 2009 assassination attempt.
Abdullah lured the Saudi prince to a meeting by claiming he wished to surrender under an amnesty program and reconcile with the government. But instead, Abdullah detonated a bomb that was hidden in his anal cavity. The blast killed only Abdullah; Prince Saud was lightly wounded in the attack.
Updated on Oct. 2, 2011:
A Yemeni official told The Long War Journal that Ibrahim Hassan Tali al Asiri is alive, but named two other al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters killed in the strike.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.