Skip to main content

Al Qaeda acknowledges U.S. drone kills its No. 2 man in Yemen

By Saad Abedine and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 6:03 AM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
A screen shot of a video shows al Qaeda's No. 2 man in Yemen Said al-Shihri on October 6, 2010.
A screen shot of a video shows al Qaeda's No. 2 man in Yemen Said al-Shihri on October 6, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hardly anyone has been rumored dead as often as al-Shihri
  • He was once a prisoner in Guantanamo
  • He was released in 2008 to his native Saudi Arabia
  • But he made a break for Yemen, rising to its leadership ranks

(CNN) -- Hardly anyone has been rumored dead as often as al Qaeda's No. 2 man in Yemen.

Said al-Shihri has emerged from the aftermath of drone strikes in the past to lambast the CIA for trying to kill him.

It seems it finally did.

A message on jihadi websites announced his death Tuesday. It was purportedly posted by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

It did not say when or where al-Shihri died, just that a U.S. drone took his life sometime after the first week of April.

Al-Shihri's career as a terrorist leader has its roots in the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He was released in 2008 to his native Saudi Arabia under the condition that he not travel outside the country.

He quickly disobeyed the order to join a fellow former Guantanamo inmate with AQAP in Yemen, where he climbed to the number two slot in 2009.

The CIA promptly put drones in the air with him in its crosshairs, and Yemeni authorities erroneously reported deadly direct hits.

Shortly afterward, al-Shihri would pop up on jihadist websites to correct the reports.

The occurrences repeated themselves -- most recently, in January.

In April, al-Shihri issued a threat to the Saudi royal family for allegedly conspiring with American "crusaders" against "the faithful people of Yemen."

The jihadi statement said the airstrike killed him sometime after that.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex, agents caught up with a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back terror to Europe.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic performers from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT