A wanted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operative who was involved in the 2002 bombing of a French oil tanker was killed in a drone strike on Friday. And today, the US launched another strike in Yemen, killing five suspected AQAP fighters.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said that Khaled Batis was one of eight terrorists killed on Aug. 31 when unmanned Predators or Reapers fired several missiles at a car as it traveled in the Hawra district in Hadramout province.
Batis is considered to be the mastermind of the 2002 attack on the French-flagged Limburg, an oil tanker that was transporting crude to Malaysia. The Limburg attack occurred when a small boat laden with explosives rammed into the ship. A Bulgarian crew member was killed and 12 others were wounded in the attack. Batis has been in Yemeni custody, but he escaped from prison last year, according to Reuters.
Batis is the second AQAP operative involved in the Limburg attack to have been killed in a drone strike this year. On Jan. 31, US drones killed Abdul Mun’im Salim al Fatahani near the city of Lawdar in Abyan province. Fatahani was involved in the Limburg attack as well as the suicide attack on the USS Cole in 2000. AQAP said that Fatahani had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.