Week(s) in Review: Former Guantanamo Bay detainee reportedly killed
Timeline of recent events in Yemen
Three raids. One on what is being described as an al-Qaeda training camp in Abyan. The second on al-Qaeda safehouse in Arhab and the third on an al-Qaeda logistics center in San’a.
(I have written about this here and here and here and here) Mareb Press has a very detailed report on the raid here.
I highly recommend this article.
It opens with the Arhab raid. This is the raid in which Yemeni security forces reportedly surrounded an al-Qaeda safe house. According to Mareb Press this raid resulted in the deaths of three AQ suspects, including (what will soon be big US news) one former Guantanamo Bay detainee Hani al-Shalan. Also Mareb Press is reporting that Mutay’a al-Ratash and Samir al-Matari were also killed while Ahmad Ali al-Muharash was wounded.
This is the raid that Qasim al-Raymi, a military commander for AQAP and Hizam Mujali one of the escapees from the February 2006 prison break once again escaped.
There were also reportedly 19 AQ suspects arrested, including Arif Mujali, another one of the escapees from the February 2006 prison break.
This raid included missiles on what is being called an AQAP training camp, a number of individuals including women and children were killed in this strike.
Unfortunately, a tight schedule today means that I can’t go into all the individuals killed in this raid, but they are listed in the Mareb Press article.
There were reportedly 14 people arrested, who were providing support to al-Qaeda.
An al-Qaeda individual later identified as Muhammad Salih al-‘Awlaqi traveled to the site of the Abyan raid and gave a short speech, which al-Jazeera later broadcast. I wrote about this here.
Yemeni fighter planes, apparently with US intelligence, tracked Muhammad Salih al-‘Awlaqi back to his tribal region of Shabwa and launched a strike, which I wrote about here.
Strike on a farm in Shabwa near or possibly the same location as the December 22 strike.
This strike was on Fahd al-Qus’a’s farm. Al-Qus’a was the cameraman that fell asleep and missed the USS Cole strike. Al-Qus’a is also related to Muhammad Salih al-‘Awlaqi. Al-Qus’a was released from prison in 2007 and recently gave an interview to al-Jazeera allegding some very strange things.
Whoever carried out the strike believed that al-Wahayshi and al-Shiri, the commander and deputy commander of AQAP were at a meeting at the farm, but both (if they were there) appear to have escaped. There have also been attempts to link Anwar al-‘Awlaqi to the farm, but it is unclear whether or not he was there, but if he was he is believed to have escaped.
What does seem to be known is that the AQ figure, Muhammad Salih al-‘Awlaqi, (the individual who appeared in Abyan on Dec. 21) was killed in the strike. The belief is that he was tracked by something – many Yemenis are claiming a US drone – back to Shabwa where he was targeted on December 22 and then again on December 24. Al-‘Awlaqi is, of course, a member of the same tribe as Anwar al-‘Awlaqi.
Al-Qaeda will almost certainly have to respond soon. What form that will take is still an open question.
But that is the review of recent weeks as I have been able to piece them together.