Drone strike in Yemen kills Al Qaida commander who reportedly defected to ISIL

Special to WorldTribune.com

An Al Qaida commander who is said to have defected to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Jalal Baleedi
Jalal Baleedi

Jalal Baleedi, who had previously run Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operations in southern Yemen, was killed while traveling in a car with two others in coastal Abyan province, according to a Reuters report. The terror leader had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head.

Baleedi reportedly defected to ISIL and became the leader of its Yemeni affiliate.

ISIL has significantly increased activities in Yemen in recent months, including the execution of Shia Houthi rebels suspected of having ties to Iran and a number of attacks and assassinations of government officials in the strategic port city of Aden.

The U.S. has maintained its drone campaign in Yemen amid the Saudi-led coalition’s battle to restore the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The Iran-backed Houthis continue to control the capital Sanaa.

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