Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced that Nayif al-Qahtani, a senior member of their group who masterminded the failed Christmas Day airline attack, was killed in a joint military operation launched by US-Yemeni troops.
The terrorist group confirmed Qahtani’s death in an Al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula newsletter. Although the source did not clarify when al-Qahtani was killed, it reported he died in Yemen’s southern Abyan province.
According to Gregory Johnsen, a terrorism expert at Princeton University who reviewed the Arabic newsletter, al-Qahtani has significantly contributed to transformation of the Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch into a formidable terrorist network. According to him, Qahtani might have been dead for some time and added that Qahtani’s death is unlikely to debilitate the organization.