By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 6, 2012- Ansar al-Sharea, an Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda militants in the Arabian Peninsula confirmed on Sunday in a statement posted on the Internet the death of top al-Qaeda leader in the Yemeni city of Shabwa.
The militants reported that al-Qaeda leader Fahd Al-Quso was killed in an airstrike in the eastern Yemeni province of Shabwa.
American airstrike took-out a vehicle believed to be carrying al-Qaeda leader in Rafdha valley of Shabwa, killing al-Quso and one his bodyguards.
Witnesses said the vehicle turned into a charred skeleton along with its passengers.
Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $US5 million ($4.9 million) reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the US for his role in the 2000 bombing in the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.
He served more than five years in a Yemeni prison for his role in the attack and was released in 2007.
Al-Quso was also one of the most senior al-Qaeda leaders publicly linked to the 2009 Christmas airliner attack. He has allegedly met with the suspected bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, in Yemen before he left on his way to execute his failed bombing over Detroit.
In December 2010, al-Quso was designated a global terrorist by the State Department, an indication that his role in al-Qaeda's Yemen branch had grown more prominent.