|Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi|
Nasir al-Wuhayshi addressing a large gathering of AQAP militants in March 2014.
October 1, 1976|
|Other names||Abu Basir|
|Known for||Founder of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula|
23px Al-Qaeda in Yemen (1998–2009) |
|Years of service||1998–present|
|Rank||Emir of AQAP|
Nasir Abdel Karim al-Wuhayshi (also transliterated as Naser al-Wahishi, Nasser al-Wuhayshi), alias Abu Basir, is a citizen of Yemen and the leader of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen consider al-Wuhayshi to be among their most wanted fugitives. In October 2014, the U.S State Department increased the reward for any information leading to the capture or killing of al-Wuhayshi to U.S $10 million, the same as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Nasir al-Wuhayshi served as secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan. 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. Al-Wuhayshi became the leader of al-Qaeda's Yemeni operations after the former leader was killed in a US Predator drone strike in 2002. His authority seems to derive mostly from his long proximity to Osama bin Laden. In February 2006, Nasir al-Wuhayshi was one of 23 Yemeni captives who escaped from custody from a maximum security prison in Sana'a.
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.
Nasir al-Wuhayshi and three other men appeared in several threatening videos released in January 2009. Al Wuhayshi published an additional video calling for violence in February. He claimed the increase in western warships off the Horn of Africa to fight piracy were really intended to oppress Islam. According to Yemeni military officials he was killed in southern Yemen on August 28, 2011. On Oct. 25, 2011, AQAP denied that he was killed.
On December 6, 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. A member of a local tribe reported on December 22 that Abdel al-Wuhashi, a younger brother of Nasir, was killed by Yemeni military forces.
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."
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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
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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.mirror
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