June 25, 2012
Washington—A Jordanian member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was the nephew of former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed in a drone strike earlier this year, according to a martyrdom statement that was released by a jihadist.
A jihadist close to Muhammad Fazi al Harasheh, who was also known as Abu Hammam al Zarqawi, released the martyrdom statement on the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Mujahideen forum on June 20. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The date and location of Abu Hammam’s death were not disclosed. He was initially reported to have been killed in a landmine attack, in a statement released on jihadist forums on May 8, according to SITE. The US is known to have conducted 13 drone strikes in southern Yemen between the beginning of April and the date his death was announced. Three of those strikes took place in Abyan province, where Abu Hammam was known to operate.
According to the jihadist, “spies” aided in the killing of Abu Hammam in a drone strike as he traveled in a vehicle.
“They were unable to kill him in the battles, so they sent spies to guide them to him,” the statement said. “A drone came to bomb the car in which he and one of the brother were riding, and so his pure soul went to its maker.”
Abu Hammam traveled to Yemen sometime last year and “entered the ranks of the mujahideen at the end of 2011.” He “pledged allegiance to Sheikh Nasir al Wuhayshi,” the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its political front, Ansar al Sharia. Wuhayshi served as Osama bin Laden’s aide de camp prior to traveling to Yemen to wage jihad.
The jihadist who wrote the martyrdom statement described Abu Hammam as “one of the hardest mujahideen on the enemies of Allah,” who earned the nickname the “Lion of Zinjibar.” According to other fighters, Abu Hammam “killed more than 26 apostates from the vagrants of America, and ... he slaughtered number 26 like a sheep.”—INP