Mohammad Salem bin Ghazi. Source: Twitter.
On Oct. 2, a Twitter account affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) began posting a series of tweets about the life of one of its slain fighters named Mohammad Salem bin Ghazi, believed to have been killed in a US drone strike targeting AQAP’s training camp in the Mahfad region of Abyan in late April of this year.
According to his AQAP eulogy, Mohammad Salem bin Gazi, also known by the nom-de-guerre Mahmoud al Hadrami, was born in 1973 in Saudi Arabia. After finishing high school studies in his native Saudi Arabia, Ghazi desired to travel to Afghanistan with the intention of joining the jihad there, but “Allah did not facilitate that for him.” Following the Gulf War, Ghazi was imprisoned (presumably in Saudi Arabia) for four years due to “his striking of the Americans.” Although his specific crime is not mentioned, the AQAP eulogy claims that after Ghazi served his time, he relocated to Yemen.
In Yemen, Ghazi studied computer science to the point that “he mastered the various sciences and was extremely intelligent, according to witness of those who knew him.” His “scientific and military culture” is described to have been very “high,” and Ghazi is remembered as an avid reader of many books and especially of the Qur’an.
From a personal perspective, Ghazi is remembered as very generous and good man, and his eulogy includes the testimony of one of his friends who said, “I have never found anyone in my life to be more generous that he [Ghazi].” Additionally, the AQAP eulogy alleges that Ghazi’s good character is demonstrated by his longstanding dedication to his mother, claiming that he lived with her and took care of all of her needs, including cooking and washing clothes.
Ghazi’s mother described her son’s devotion to her: “He would cook food for me and not eat one bite till I finished my food, and he would wash my clothes and clean the house and would be at my service.” She described her son as an “ascetic in this world” who had a soft spot for his mother, tickling her legs to make her laugh, and always at the service of others.
According to his eulogy, Ghazi was “martyred” as a result of a US drone strike on an AQAP training camp in the mountainous Mahfad region in northeastern Abyan province on April 19, 2014. Ghazi was allegedly killed in the first drone strike on the artillery facilities in Mahfad, and his eulogy indicates that because of the sustained drone strikes over the following day, the mujahideen could not bury Ghazi’s body until the third day after his death.
“May Allah have mercy on you, Oh Mohammad, and may Allah accept you and your brothers in the highest Paradise, and we tell his mother, how blessed you are with this great honor that your righteous son … for you have excelled in educating [him] and with Allah’s permission he will intercede on your behalf on the Day of Judgment.”
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