Nasir al-Wuhayshi

Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi
ناصر عبد الكريم الوحيشي
Nasir al-Wuhayshi.jpg
Nasir al-Wuhayshi in 2012.
Born(1976-10-01)1 October 1976[1]
Died12 June 2015(2015-06-12) (aged 38)[3]
Other namesAbu Basir
Known forFounder of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Military career
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Service/branch Al-Qaeda central (1998–2001)
Al-Qaeda in Yemen (2001–2009)
AQAP (2009–2015)
Years of service1998–2015
RankFormer Emir of AQAP
Battles/warsWar on Terror

Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi (Arabic: ناصر عبد الكريم الوحيشي  Nasir ʿbd al-Karim al-Wahishi; also transliterated as Naser al-Wahishi, Nasser al-Wuhayshi), alias Abu Basir,[5] was a citizen of Yemen and the leader of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[6][7][8] Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen considered al-Wuhayshi to be among their most wanted fugitives.[9][10] In October 2014, the US State Department increased the reward for any information leading to the capture or killing of al-Wuhayshi to US$10 million, the same as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[11] Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike in Hadhramaut Governorate of Yemen on 12 June 2015.[12][13]

Early life, Afghanistan and al-Qaeda

Nasir al-Wuyayshi was born on 1 October 1976 in the Mukayras region of what is now the southern province of Abyan, Yemen. He spent time in religious institutions in Yemen before travelling to Afghanistan in 1998 and joining al-Qaeda.[14]

al-Wuhayshi served as secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan.[15][16] He left Afghanistan in 2001 and was soon arrested by Iranian authorities, who handed him over to his native Yemen two years later where he was imprisoned without charges.[17] Al-Wuhayshi became the leader of al-Qaeda's Yemeni operations after a previous leader was killed in a US Predator drone strike in 2002.[16]

In February 2006, Nasir al-Wuhayshi was one of 23 Yemeni captives who escaped from custody from a maximum security prison in Sana'a.[5][15][16][18]

His authority seemed to derive mostly from his long proximity to Osama bin Laden.[17]

Foundation and Emir of AQAP

In January 2009, the al-Qaeda branches in Yemen and Saudi Arabia merged and formed al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed al-Wuhayshi's appointment as leader of AQAP in a video posted online.[9]

Nasir al-Wuhayshi and three other men appeared in several threatening videos released in January 2009.[19] Al Wuhayshi published an additional video calling for violence in February.[20] He claimed the increase in western warships off the Horn of Africa to fight piracy were really intended to oppress Islam.[21] According to Yemeni military officials he was killed in southern Yemen on 28 August 2011.[22] On 25 October 2011, AQAP denied that he was killed.[23]

On 6 December, al-Wuhayshi released a statement on jihadist websites that AQAP would be intervening in the Siege of Dammaj on the side of Salafi students fighting the Shi'a Houthi militia.[24] A member of a local tribe reported on 22 December that Abdel al-Wuhashi, a younger brother of Nasir, was killed by Yemeni military forces.[25]

In 2013, Al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri appointed al-Wuhayshi as his deputy, speculating that he may be the next Emir of Al-Qaeda.[26][27]

In March 2014, al-Wuhayshi made an appearance in a video celebrating the mass jailbreak of fighters held in Yemeni prisons. Around 400 AQAP fighters were present in what was described as being the largest known gathering of al-Qaeda in Yemen. In the video, al-Wuhayshi declared, "We have to remove the Cross, and the bearer of the Cross, America."[28]


Al-Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen on 12 June 2015.[12] AQAP released a statement acknowledging his death several days later and announced Qasim al-Raymi as his successor.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "Rewards for Justice - Wanted". Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  2. ^ Kurczy, Stephen (2 November 2010). "Five key members of Al Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Nasir al-Wahishi". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Al Qaeda's Hadramawt emirate". Brookings Institution. 12 July 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b El Deeb, Sarah (29 December 2009). "Inspired by bin Laden, Al-Qaida in Arabian Peninsula seeks to expand operations beyond Yemen". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  6. ^ Gregory D. Johnsen (9 November 2007). "Al Qaeda's generational split". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  7. ^ "2 tourists dead in attack in Yemen". International Herald Tribune. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  8. ^ Thomas Hegghammer (24 January 2009). "Saudi and Yemeni Branches of al-Qaida Unite". Jihadica. Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". Al Jazeera. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  10. ^ Michael, Maggie; Ahmed al-Haj (2009). "Report: Ex-Gitmo Detainee Joins Al-Qaida in Yemen". ABC News Internet Ventures. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 24 October 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is an umbrella group of various cells. Its current leader is Yemen's most wanted fugitive Naser Abdel Karim al-Wahishi
  11. ^ "Rewards for Justice – Reward Offers for Information on Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Leaders". Retrieved December 2014. Check date values in: |access-date=
  12. ^ a b Dana Ford, CNN (15 June 2015). "Top al Qaeda leader reported killed in Yemen". CNN. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Al Qaeda in Yemen says leader killed in U.S. bombing". Reuters. 16 June 2015. Archived from the original on 16 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Profile: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". BBC. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b Raghavan, Sudarsan (28 December 2009). "Al-Qaeda group in Yemen gaining prominence". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  16. ^ a b c Black, Ian (30 July 2008). "Yemen terrorism: Soft approach to jihadists starts to backfire as poverty fuels extremism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  17. ^ a b Robert F. Worth, "Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?" New York Times (6 July 2010).
  18. ^ Gregory D. Johnsen (10 July 2007). "Yemen Attack Reveals Struggle Among Al-Qaeda's Ranks". 4 (22). Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 25 December 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2009. [tt_news=4291 mirror]
  19. ^ "Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video". Agence France-Presse. 25 January 2009. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  20. ^ "New al-Qaida message urges Yemenis to fight gov't". Associated Press. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  21. ^ "Al-Qaeda leader urges Yemeni tribes to rise up against government". Earth Times. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2009. In an audiotape posted on Islamist web sites, al-Wahishi linked the clampdown on Jihadists in five desert provinces to the deployment of Western navy forces in the Gulf of Aden to fight piracy. "The parties have gathered in the land of faith and wisdom. French, British and Western crusaders, have come to the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden to surround the Island of Islam (Arabian Peninsula) from the sea," al-Wahishi said.
  22. ^ Roggio, Bill (28 August 2011). "AQAP chief Nasir al Wuhayshi reported killed in southern Yemen". The Long War Journal. Public Multimedia Inc. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  23. ^ Roggio, Bill (26 October 2011). "AQAP denies emir Nasir al Wuhayshi killed in US airstrike". longwarjournal.org. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  24. ^ "Gulf of Aden Security Review – December 6, 2011". criticalthreats.org. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  25. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. 22 December 2011.
  26. ^ "Rewards for Justice – Reward Offers for Information on Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Leaders". 19 January 2010. Retrieved December 2014. Check date values in: |access-date=
  27. ^ "Al Qaeda leaders 'wanted to do something big' on Muslim holiday, sources say". Retrieved December 2014. Check date values in: |access-date=
  28. ^ "Al Qaeda's Second-In-Command Vows To Strike America In New Video". Retrieved December 2014. Check date values in: |access-date=

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