US drones kill Saudi AQAP commander, fighter


Abdullah al Ali al Suweed (left) and Abu al Zubeir al Qassimi (right). Images from the SITE Intelligence Group.

The SITE Intelligence Group obtained and translated copies of martyrdom statements for two Saudi al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives who apparently were killed in drone strikes in Marib province in Yemen. One of the Saudis, Abu al Zubeir al Qassimi, was a senior commander, and the other, Abdullah al Ali al Suweed, was a low-level fighter.

According to Abu al Zubeir’s martyrdom statement, he “was captured in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia] in al-Safra’ prison and he stayed there for a while, then Allah granted him relief,” according to the SITE translation. He traveled to Yemen with another jihadist, and once there, he “received courses in tactics and in several of the light, medium and heavy weapons.”

Abu Zubeir served as “an emir [leader] of one of the groups of mujahideen in Abyan,” and was wounded “in one of the storming operations,” or suicide assaults, in Zinjibar, which was held by AQAP between May 2011 and May 2012. After recovering from his injuries, he “was assigned as the emir over Marib province.”

The martyrdom statement said that Abu Zubeir was killed in a “bombing of an American drone,” but did not indicate when he was killed. The US has conducted seven drone strikes in Abyan province since the beginning of 2012, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal.

According to Abdullah al Ali al Suweed’s martyrdom statement, he joined “the convoy of Ansar al Shariah,” AQAP’s political front, trained at a camp in al-Majala in Abyan province, and worked “in many fields including the media and administration,” and “would also follow up on the condition of the prisoners in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques [Saudi Arabia].”

He was killed “with a group of his brothers in the month of Safar 1434 [corresponding to December 2012 to January 2013, according to SITE] in an American bombing in Marib province.”

During the months of December 2012 and January 2013, there were two drone strikes in Marib. Al Suweed was likely killed in the Jan. 19 strike; two Saudis are reported to have been killed in the attack.

Saudi al Qaeda operatives play an important role in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s network in Yemen. The most important Saudi leader, Said al Shihri, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who served as AQAP’s second in command, was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen. The date of the attack is unclear, but it appears he was killed in a strike on Oct. 28, 2012.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • gerald says:

    Way to go!! Two less unrepentant murderers roaming the world!

  • Donald says:

    You forgot to mention AQAP’s video eulogy of Abu Zubeir ‘Adil al-‘Abab.

  • M says:

    Mr. Roggio:
    As you understand it, would you classify Abu al Zubeir al Qassimi as a King, Knight, Bishop, or Rook?

  • sundoesntrise says:

    These guys look happy, clean, well fed, etc. A far cry from the pictures I see of ordinary Yemeni civilians who have no job, no water, no money, and can’t even afford bread for their families.
    The Muslim world will never truly progress until they learn to stop blaming others for their actions – and blame themselves, for a change.


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