AQAP confirms military commander killed in US airstrike


Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula confirmed that Jalal Bala’idi, a prominent AQAP field commander also known as Hamza al Zinjibari, was killed by the US in an airstrike in Abyan province on Feb. 3. AQAP released a statement today confirming his death. A portion of the statement, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, is excerpted below:

We extend condolences to our Muslim Ummah and specifically our people in Yemen of faith and wisdom, and on top of them, the honorable tribes of al-Maraqisha, for the killing of the heroic commander Jalal Bal’idi al-Marqishi, may Allah have mercy on him, who was killed in a Crusader strike that targeted him while he was amongst the sons of his tribe in Abyan province.

Bala’idi was one of AQAP’s top leaders. In 2014, the US Rewards for Justice program offered a $5 million bounty for information “leading to the locations” of him and seven other senior leaders, including AQAP founder and then-emir Nasir al Quhayshi; Qasim a Raymi, then-AQAP military commander and now emir; and Ibrahim al Asiri, the master bombmaker.

Bala’idi has been featured in AQAP’s propaganda. As recently as December 2015, he was videotaped in Jaar after the group seized control of the southern Yemeni town.

For more information on Bala’idi, see LWJ‘s Feb. 3 report, Senior AQAP commander reportedly killed in US drone strike in Yemen.

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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