An airstrike Sunday killed a top al-Qaeda leader on the FBI’s most-wanted list for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship, Yemeni officials said. The drone attack was carried out by the CIA, U.S. officials said.
Fahd al-Quso was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle, along with another al-Qaeda operative, in the southern Shabwa province, Yemeni military officials said. They were speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with military regulations.
The drone strike that killed al-Quso was carried out after an extended surveillance operation by the CIA and the U.S. military, two U.S. officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The strike was authorized by the Yemeni government, which then made the announcement after the operation was complete, the officials said, part of the U.S. strategy to give the host government more public ownership of the operation being carried out on Yemeni soil.
The airstrike came as the U.S. and Yemen cooperate in a battle against al-Qaeda in southern Yemen.
Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the USS Cole bombing in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.