Al-Qaeda leader killed by half-brother in Rada’a
Al-Baidha witnessed consecutive drastic events last Wednesday and Thursday (February 15-16), when men believed to be of Al-Qaeda militants assassinated Hussein Al-Babli, chief of the election observation committee, Khalid Mohammed, head of the security committee, and the commander of the Republican Guard in Al-Baidha, in addition to three of their assistants as they were having lunch in a restaurant.
A local citizen in Rada’a said Hizam, 40, killed his half-brother Tariq and his escorts late Wednesday night as Tariq was planning a terrorist operation with his brother Nabeel inside a mosque in the town, where both brothers were from.
After killing Tariq, Hizam escaped and left behind his brother Nabeel, who had been seriously wounded. Nabeel was released last month from a political security prison in a deal made between Tareq and the government which called for the withdrawal of armed group from Rada’a. Several operatives, including Nabeel, were freed.
Nabeel had been imprisoned in Syria after being charged with traveling Iraq to support Al-Qaeda there. He was then surrendered to Yemen’s intelligence services, which held him for several years.
The citizen who requested anonymity said Hizam fled to Rada’a town and barricaded himself inside his father’s old home, and pointed out that followers of his slain brother, Tariq, had laid siege to the house.
An armed man from Rada’a who asked not to publish his name pointed out those Al-Qaeda militants led by Qaid Al-Dhahab put a car bomb filled with large quantities of high explosive materials behind the house that exploded five minutes later in the place which Hizam took refuge to.
The source made it clear that the bomb turned the place to rubble, and added that Hizam and his nephew, Ahmed, were killed in the operation.
A tribal source in Rada’a said Hizam killed his half-brother because he shared the anger of Rada’a’s tribes about the increasing Al-Qaeda presence in the town and the declaration by Tariq that it was an Islamic emirate. Tariq had also proclaimed himself leader of the organization.
The source made reference to the differences between the two sons of the late Sheikh Nasser Al-Dhahab, differences which increased as they sought to become leaders of the Qaifah tribe, known as one of the fiercest in Rada’a.
It explained that eight of Sheikh Al-Dhahab sons were killed in events similar to what happened lately, pointing out that four of his sons were killed by their own brothers in longstanding conflicts. The total number of Sheikh Al-Dhahab’s sons is 21.
The source accused the security services of failing to perform their tasks of ending the siege imposed by Al-Qaeda organization on the house of Hizam.
A security source said that security services and forces of the Republican Guard managed last Thursday to arrest 21 persons accused of killing the government officials in Baidha.
The source affirmed that three of the defendants admitted that they committed the crime and they received orders from Tariq Al-Dhahab.
A source of the Central Security leadership in Baidha said it thought that elements affiliated with Abdul-Wahab Al-Humaiqani were behind the attack.
It made clear that the assassination of the officials was carried out Wednesday night inside Abu Dhabi restaurant, pointing out that the militants who were riding a Camry car stormed the restaurant and embarked on shooting fire directly at the targeted men.
“All shots were on heads, and terrorists snatched the personal weapons of the victims before they escaped” the source added.
It further said the militants assaulted last Friday the government compound of Baidha, using shells and firing its contents, pointing out that security services are still probing and collecting information to identify the criminals.
A source close to Al-Qaeda group in Al-Baidha revealed that Al-Qaeda pledged allegiance to Qaid Al-Dhahab, the brother of Tariq, as a new leader of Al-Qaeda in Baidha.
Tariq Al-Dhahab, 38 years old, is thought as one of the most prominent leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) and a relative of Anwar Al-Awlaki who was killed by a US drone late September last year.