September 15, 2009 / 9:51 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Major al Qaeda militants killed or captured

(Reuters) - U.S. special forces in helicopters attacked a car in southern Somalia Monday and killed one of east Africa’s most wanted al Qaeda militants, witnesses and U.S. sources said.

Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, was suspected of building the truck bomb that killed 15 people at a Kenyan hotel in 2002, as well as involvement in a simultaneous, but botched, missile launch at an Israeli airliner leaving Mombasa airport. Below is a list of some of the major al Qaeda figures killed or captured since 2001:


* Mohammed Atef, one of the leaders of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, was killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan in November 2001.

* Abu Suleiman al-Otaibi, formerly one of al Qaeda’s leaders in Iraq, was killed by U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, according to a statement by the group on an Islamist website in May 2008.


* Hareg Zoheir, the deputy chief of al Qaeda’s North Africa wing, was killed along with two other rebels in a gun battle with Algerian troops in October 2007.

* In February 2009 it was reported that Algerian security forces had killed Mourad Bouzid, also known as Ami Slimane, a senior member of Al Qaeda’s north African wing.


* Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, was killed in a U.S. air raid in June 2006.

* In April 2009 Iraq confirms the identity of a captured suspect as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, suspected head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked group.


* Saudi-born Palestinian Abu Zubaydah was arrested after a shootout in the central Pakistani city of Faisalabad in March 2002. Zubaydah was operations director for al Qaeda and the first high-ranking member to be arrested.

* Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni national and one-time roommate of Mohamed Atta, suspected ringleader of the September 11 hijackers, was captured in Karachi in September 2002.

* Security forces arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda’s number three and alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, in a raid in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, in March 2003.

* Pakistani intelligence agencies and security forces arrested Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby, mastermind of two failed attempts on President Pervez Musharraf’s life, in May 2005.

* Abu Hamza Rabia, an al Qaeda commander ranked the third most senior leader in the network, was killed in a tribal region of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan in December 2005.

* Abu Laith al-Libi, one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants who commanded militant forces in Afghanistan, was killed in January 2008 in a suspected U.S. missile strike that also killed up to 13 foreign militants.

* Abu Khabab al-Masri, an al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert who carried a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, was killed in a suspected U.S. missile strike in Pakistan in July 2008.

* Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri was killed in clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border in August 2008.

* In August 2009 Pakistani and U.S. officials say they are certain Pakistani Taliban chief and al Qaeda cohort Baitullah Mehsud had been killed in a missile strike by a U.S. drone in the South Waziristan tribal region. Taliban commanders deny their leader is dead. Later in the month a senior aide to Mehsud, Maulvi Omar, is captured.


* Youssef al-Eiery, the leading al Qaeda militant in Saudi Arabia who was believed to be behind May 2003 suicide bombings in Riyadh which killed at least 35 people, was shot dead by Saudi police shortly after the attacks. Several successors, including Khaled Ali Haj, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin and Saleh al-Awfi, were killed by Saudi security forces over the next two years.


* A U.S. air strike in May 2008 killed Aden Hashi Ayro, who led al Shabaab militants blamed for attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian allies.

* U.S. special forces in helicopters attacked a car in southern Somalia in Sept 2009 and killed Kenya-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, who was suspected of building the truck bomb that killed 15 people at a Kenyan hotel in 2002.


* U.S. missile strike in November 2002 killed Abu Ali al-Harthi, suspected planning the 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship Cole which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Writing by David Cutler; Additional writing by Jijo Jacob; London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Dominic Evans

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