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July 21, 2017

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Al-Qaida deputy regional head killed in Yemen: gov't website

ADEN/WASHINGTON--A Saudi national freed by U.S. authorities from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who then became second-in-command of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, was killed in Yemen, a Yemeni government website said.

The Yemeni Ministry of Defense website said Said al-Shehri was killed on Monday, along with six other militants, in what it called a "qualitative operation" by Yemen's army in the remote Hadramout province in eastern Yemen. It gave no further details.

There were conflicting reports on how Shehri died. A Yemeni security source said Shehri was killed in an operation last Wednesday in the Hadramout that was thought to have been carried out by a U.S. drone, rather than the Yemeni military.

The source said another Saudi and an Iraqi national were among the others killed. U.S. officials declined to comment on whether a drone strike had occurred.

U.S. officials described Shehri as one of the most important al Qaeda-linked militants to be released from the Guantanamo detention facility, where he was taken in January 2002 after being handed over by Pakistan to U.S. authorities.

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