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US drone strike in Yemen kills top Al Qaeda operative, wanted by FBI over Cole bombing

Fahd al Quso, an Al Qaeda figure on the FBI's most-wanted list for his role in the USS Cole bombing, was killed by an airstrike in Yemen on Sunday, Yemeni officials said.

Clone of Yemen airstrikes drones 2012 01 31 0Enlarge
Militants linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of Yemen’s year-long uprising to entrench and strengthen their positions in the country’s southern and eastern regions. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

An Al Qaeda figure on the FBI's most-wanted list for his role in the USS Cole bombing was killed by an air strike in Yemen on Sunday, Yemeni officials said.

Fahd al Quso, 37, a senior member of the offshoot terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was killed by a suspected US drone at Fahe'd farm in Rafadh district, Shabwa province, Gulf News reported.

The farm had been targeted many times before by US drones targeting Anwar al-Awlaki, it added.

Awlaki, a US citizen and one of America’s most-wanted Al Qaeda operatives, was killed last September in a drone strike, GlobalPost reported at the time.

It had been long been believed that Awlaki was hiding among his large and powerful Awalik tribe based in Yemen’s rugged south-east province of Shabwa. 

More from GlobalPost: Officials: US drones kill over a dozen suspected militants in Yemen

According to CNN, Quso had been indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 2003 on 50 counts of terrorism offenses for his role in the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, which killed 17 US sailors. 

He had been at large since escaping in April 2003 with eight others from a Yemeni prison.

The FBI had offered a $5 million reward for any information leading to his capture.

According to Gulf News, the US drone killed three Al Qaeda militants, and wounded five others who had been gathering when the missiles struck. 

US drone strikes in Yemen have dramatically increased in response to heightened radical militant activity in the region.

According to the Associated Press, American officials believe the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda is one of the most dangerous.

More from GlobalPost: Al Qaeda in Yemen releases 73 soldiers

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120506/yemen-al-qaeda-uss-cole-us-military