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Yemen: US drone strike kills senior Al-Qaeda figure - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012 handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2013. (REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez/Handout)

A US Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California in this January 7, 2012, handout photo obtained by Reuters on February 6, 2013. (REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez/Handout)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Leading Al-Qaeda figure Qaid Al-Dahab was killed alongside several of his aides in a US drone attack in the Yemeni province of Al-Bayda’ on Friday.

It was reported that eight missiles were launched by two US drones targeting vehicles that belonged to members of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Al-Shari’a.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Dahab’s half-brother, Khaled Al-Dahab, said that “some prominent Islamic figures in Yemen tempted Qaid and radicalized him,” mentioning several people who cannot be named for legal reasons.

He also blamed the Yemeni and US authorities for “chasing Al-Qaeda’s tools, rather than its leadership,” accusing them of “supporting” Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

The US has been launching an increasing number of drone strikes recently, with 45 people suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda-linked groups having reportedly been killed in the last four weeks..

Local sources who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said: “There are quite a few foreigners of several nationalities in the mountainous area [Al-Bayda’].”

Ansar Al-Shari’a tried to seize the Rada’ district to establish an Islamic emirate a year ago, in a step similar to what happened in the neighboring province of Abyan.

In separate news, the dean of the Faculty of Law at Taiz University was injured on Friday as two unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on him.

The failed assassination attempt comes as violence against the country’s social and political figures escalates.