Al-Qaida kills 2 alleged spies after Yemen leader killed
Al-Qaida militants in Yemen killed two men accused of spying for the United States (US) and hung their bodies off a bridge yesterday, a day after the jihadi group announced the death of its leader in an American drone strike.
Witnesses said al-Qaida gunmen in the southern city of Mukalla read out charges before shooting the two men, one of whom was accused of guiding the drone that killed commander Nasr al-Ansi and a media liaison known as Muhannad Ghalab in April.
Al-Qaida supporters posted pictures online that showed the two men blindfolded on a sandy beach, said to be the site of a previous drone strike. Another picture showed a body in bloody clothes lashed to a pole, dangling off a bridge.
The killings came a day after al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni affiliate is known, said its leader, Nasir al-Wahishi, was killed in a US drone strike last week.
Al-Qaida captured Mukalla in April after Yemen's army splintered between allies and opponents of Shiite rebels known as Houthis. But the city has proven to be something of a death trap, with US drone strikes in and around Mukalla killing not only al-Wahishi and al-Ansi, but also a senior religious ideologue, Ibrahim al-Rubaish.
In series of online postings, al-Qaida members said one of the two men shot dead yesterday was a Saudi national loyal to the Islamic State group, which controls vast regions of Iraq and Syria. They identified him as Musaed al-Khaweitar and said he ran an al-Qaida-linked media outlet and was close to top leaders.
The second man, identified as Abu Ayman al-Mutairi, is also believed to be Saudi.
Al-Qaida's Yemen branch is widely seen as the terror network's most dangerous offshoot. It claimed the attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January and has been linked to a number of attempts to attack the US.