Officials said Al Qahtani, believed to be a leader of Al Qaida in the
Arabian Peninsula, was deemed a major threat to the Saudi kingdom. They said
he was believed to have fled to neighboring Yemen in 2009.
On May 5, a U.S.-origin Predator unmanned aerial vehicle was reported to
have fired a missile at a car in southern Yemen that killed two AQAP
operatives. The Yemeni Defense Ministry identified the two targets as
Abdullah and Mosad Mubarak, who had been traveling in the Shabwa province.
The Interior Ministry has drafted a list of its 47 top fugitives. In
January, Riyad relayed the list — all of them Saudis — to Interpol.
In 2001, Al Qahtani's relative, Mohammed, was captured by the U.S. Army
in the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. For the last few years, Mohammed
has been held in the U.S. Navy prison in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Officials said scores of AQAP operatives have fled Yemen amid the
opposition campaign against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. They said some of
the operatives were fleeing to neighboring Africa, including Somalia.