Dec 8, 2012 No Comments ›› Infidel
Excerpted from NBC News: A senior al-Qaida official and potential successor to the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed Friday morning in a Predator drone strike, according to reports on jihadi web forums and U.S. officials.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdul Rehman Al-Hussainan, aka Abu-Zaid al Kuwaiti, was killed in Pakistan while eating breakfast, according to the accounts. The 46-year-old cleric was seen as part of the “very top tier” of al-Qaida’s remaining leaders in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, according to one expert on the terror group.
The news was first announced on an al-Qaida web forum early Friday. “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,” a post said.
Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News counterterrorism analyst, said al-Hussainan was at the forefront of a new wave of al-Qaida leadership.
“That’s a big gap in the leadership,” said Kohlmann, who is also a Justice Department consultant. “He was the last senior Al-Qaida leader in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area who was, one, from the Arabian Peninsula and, two, who had serious clerical credentials. Now there is no obvious publicly recognizable candidate left to succeed Zawahiri.”
In recent years, al-Hussainan was seen in numerous al-Qaida videos offering religious training to the group’s operatives. The videos were widely circulated by al-Shabab, al-Qaida’s media wing. He also authored several books of religious thoughts.