SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Al-Qaida’s No. 2 in Yemen died of wounds sustained in a U.S. drone attack last year in southern Yemen, the country’s official news agency and a security official said Thursday.
Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was wounded in a missile attack in the southern city of Saada on Oct. 28, according to SABA news agency.
The agency said that he had fallen into a coma since then. It was not clear when he actually died.
A security official said that the missile had been fired by a U.S. -operated, unmanned drone aircraft. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Yemen had previously announced al-Shihri’s death in a Sept. 10 drone attack in the province of Hadramawt. A subsequent DNA test however proved that the body recovered was not that of al-Shihri.
On Oct. 22, al-Shihri denied his own death in audio message posted on Jihadi websites.
Also known by the nom de guerre Abu Sufyan al-Azdi, he denounced at the time the Yemeni government for spreading the “rumor about my death … as though the killing of the mujahideen (holy warriors) by America is a victory to Islam and Muslims.”
Al-Shihri went through Saudi Arabia’s famous “rehabilitation” institutes after he returned to his home country, but then he fled to Yemen and became deputy to Nasser al-Wahishi, the leader of an al-Qaida group.