Saturday 8 December 2012

Another senior al-Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan

The death of Sheikh Khalid Abdul Rahman al-Hussainan - aka Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti - in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan's tribal areas yesterday is a serious blow to al-Qaeda. According to some accounts, the Kuwaiti cleric, part of a recent trend of 'internet imams',  was a likely successor to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and played an important role as religious advisor to the organisation and member of al-Qaeda's religious committee.
Sheikh Khalid Abdul Rahman al-Hussainan
He was well known for his lectures and videos, many of which were put out by the As-Shahab organisation. He was also the last known Arab with a serious religious  background living in Pakistan's tribal territories.
According to reports 46-year-old al-Hussainan was killed whilst taking his early morning meal. A statement on an al-Qaeda-linked web forum, posted on Friday, stated: "“We celebrate to you the news of the martyrdom of the working scholar Shaykh Khalid al-Hussainan (Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti) while eating his suhoor (dawn time) meal, and we ask Allah to accept him in paradise."
More detail on his background can be found in an interview published earlier this year by Flashpoint Partners.
The death of al-Hussainan comes in the wake of the killings of at least three contenders for the leadership role in al-Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Ilyas Kashmiri, Atiyah Abd-al Rahman and Ayman al-Awlaki have all been killed in drone strikes, leaving a serious gap in the top leadership of the organisation.

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