Al Qaeda in Yemen execute 2 Saudis accused of spying for America - Gulf Business
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Al Qaeda in Yemen execute 2 Saudis accused of spying for America

Al Qaeda in Yemen execute 2 Saudis accused of spying for America

Two Saudis, named al-Mutairi and al-Khaledi, were reportedly killed

Al Qaeda militants killed two Saudi men accused of spying for the United States in southeast Yemen on Wednesday, residents said, a day after the group announced its leader was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike.

Residents said al Qaeda accused the men of planting tracking chips enabling U.S. drones to target and kill leaders in the group, after its leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi, along with two other militants were assassinated last Tuesday.

Images posted on social media by al Qaeda supporters showed armed militants on a beach carrying banners surrounding two blindfolded men kneeling on the sand.

“They executed two Saudis, named al-Mutairi and al-Khaledi. They put the two men on the corniche in the city of Mukalla … they opened fire at them in front of a big group of residents,” one resident, who was present on the beach, told Reuters by telephone. He asked to stay anonymous for his own safety.

One man’s corpse was later pictured tied to a wooden plank and hung from a bridge beneath a banner saying, “the House of Saud directs American planes to bomb the holy warriors.”

Later on Wednesday, residents reported that a suspected U.S. drone bombed a Mukalla hotel used by al Qaeda militants, killing several people.

Wuhayshi, a former aide to Osama bin Laden, also served as deputy leader of al Qaeda’s global organisation, and his assassination deprives Al Qaeda of a charismatic leader who directed a series of ambitious attacks.

AQAP has plotted foiled bomb plots against international airliners and claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, calling it punishment for insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

It has also orchestrated attacks inside Yemen in recent years, targeting government ministries, military camps and soldiers, killed hundreds of people.

Despite evacuating its embassy and intelligence officials from Yemen this year, the United States has killed five other senior figures in AQAP in 2015, but the organisation may be empowered by civil war raging in the country.

Analysts and Yemeni government officials say the strikes often rely on local informants.

Saudi Arabia has used a network of tribal and family connections to infiltrate AQAP in Yemen, and a tip-off from Riyadh helped foil a planned suicide bomb attack on a plane over Detroit in 2009.

The Yemeni off-shoot of al Qaeda has operated openly in Mukalla, the capital of Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramout, since army forces withdrew in April, taking advantage of months of political chaos and violence.

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