AQAP confirms death of commander, charges father and son with ‘spying’ for US

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has confirmed that a local commander linked to a 2008 attack on the US Embassy in Sana’a was killed in a drone strike last November. The terror group accused a father and son of planting a tracking device on the commander’s vehicle that allowed the unmanned US strike aircraft to hunt him down.

In a statement released on jihadist forums on April 18, AQAP announced that Adnan al Qadhi, a commander who operated in the capital of Sana’a, and Sheikh Abu Radwan were killed in a drone strike. The statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Al Qadhi and two of his bodyguards, Rabiee Lahib and Radwan al Hashidi, who appears to be Sheikh Abu Radwan, were first reported killed on Nov. 8, one day after the US launched the airstrike in a village just south of Sana’a [see LWJ report, US drone strike near Yemeni capital kills AQAP commander, 2 fighters].

Al Qadhi is thought to have been involved in the 2008 bombing at the US Embassy in Sana’a, according to Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee. Al Qadhi “was a lieutenant colonel in the Yemeni army before he joined Al Qaeda,” Arrabyee reported. He was arrested after the 2008 Embassy bombing, but freed due to his connections with Yemen’s top leaders. Al Qadhi’s family is from the same village as then President Ali Saleh, and al Qadhi served in a unit under Ali Muhsin, a powerful Yemeni general who helped bring Saleh to power.

AQAP said al Qadhi and Abu Radwan were “martyred by American missile guided by a chip planted on Sheikh Adnan al Qadhi.”

“A few days after their martyrdom, Allah enabled the mujahideen to get hold of the spy responsible,” AQAP continued.

Video of a father and his young son admitting to planting a “chip” on al Qadhi’s vehicle was then shown. The father said that four Yemeni military officers paid him to have his son place the tracking device on al Qadhi.

AQAP then tried and convicted the father in a sharia, or Islamic, court for “the killing of Sheikh Adnan al Qadhi and Sheikh Abu Radwan (may Allah accept them), by exploiting the innocence of his young son Barq and deceiving him to plant two electronic chips on Sheikh Adnan al Qadhi, which guided the American planes to identify his location and kill him with directed missiles.”

The Yemeni terror group did not indicate the punishment that would be meted out. However, in the past, AQAP beheaded three “spies” for planting tracking chips to guide US drones to their targets [see LWJ report, AQAP’s Ansar al Sharia executes 3 US ‘spies’].

Additionally, AQAP announced that the four Yemeni military officers, identified as “Major Gen. Abdallah Hamuud al-Jabry, Major Khalid Ghleis, Major Khali al-‘Awbali, and Adjutant Jawwaas,” are “wanted for justice.” AQAP routinely assassinates Yemeni military and intelligence officials.

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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1 Comment

  • Adam says:

    Lately, they’ve taken a LOT longer to confirm the deaths of their leaders or field commanders. This strike took place almost half a year ago. When Awlaki and Fahd Quso were killed, AQAP confirmed their deaths within a week at the most.

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