Al-Qaeda on Sunday confirmed the death of a senior figure in its Yemen branch in a suspected U.S. air strike last month.
The attack targeted Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Tamimi, also known as Abdel Aziz Al-Adnani, at his home in the central Marib province on Feb. 26.
He was identified as a top leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the U.S. regards as among the group’s most dangerous branches.
Tamimi died in a drone strike that targeted his residence in war-torn Yemen’s northern Marib province. Tamimi spent nearly four years in prison in Saudi Arabia before traveling to Yemen in 2013, where he expressed a desire to attack “vital” American interests and carry out a suicide attack himself.
An Al-Qaeda ideology and media officer, he headed AQAP’s leadership council and was the group’s“judge.”
His death was the second major blow to Al-Qaeda in Yemen in just over a month. On Jan. 30, a U.S. drone killed three Al-Qaeda operatives, including the notorious bomb maker Hussein Hadboul.
Experts said that the death of Tamimi is a significant loss for Al Qaeda, as he was both talented and prolific in media and jurisprudence. AQAP leader Khalid Batarfi is now the most senior chief left of the group.
AQAP has carried out operations against both the Houthis and government forces as well as sporadic attacks abroad. Its leaders have been targeted in a U.S. drone war for more than two decades, but the number of reported strikes has dropped in recent years.
Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition intervened to back the government after the Iranian-backed Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa.
Al-Qaeda is a Sunni pan-Islamist militant organization led by Salafi jihadists who self-identify as a vanguard spearheading a global Islamist revolution to unite the Muslim world under a supra-national Islamic state known as the Caliphate.