The US military killed a local commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and four of his fighters in an airstrike in central Yemen yesterday. The strike is the latest in a series that have targeted the entirety of AQAP’s network in the war-torn country.
The AQAP commander was identified as Mohammed Ammar al Adani, according to a report in Xinhua. Al Adani, who is from the province of Abyan, was traveling in a vehicle with his cohorts in Raghwan district in Marib province when they were hit from the air.
The strike that killed al Adani was the first reported in the media since Sept. 14. After that attack, FDD’s Long War Journal was told by US Central Command that the US military has launched “more than 100 strikes against AQAP militants, infrastructure, fighting positions and equipment.”
AQAP has maintained an effective insurgency in Yemen despite nearly a decade of targeting by the US that has killed some of its top leaders, including its founder, Nasir al Wuhayshi. AQAP controlled large areas of the south, including provincial capitals, between 2011-2012 and again in 2015-2016. It has benefited greatly from Yemen’s multifaceted civil war, which includes a weak central government and Iranian-backed Shia Houthis that control the capital. The Yemeni government receives support from the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, yet AQAP still maintains control of rural areas in the south.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.