Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a top leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who appeared in a video in which he claimed the terror group was behind the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike, according to a video message and lengthy statement released by AQAP that the SITE Intelligence Group translated.
Al-Ansi, his eldest son, and six other militants were killed last month in a drone strike in the Yemeni city of al-Mukalla on the Arabian Sea, the SITE Intelligence group said, citing media reports.
In January, Al-Ansi said that AQAP was responsible for the attack on the offices of the French satirical newspaper that killed 17 people.
“As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we…claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God,” Al-Ansi, said in the recording. “[The] one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organization.” Al-Ansi also said that the attacks were carried out because of the order given by Al Qaeda’s overall leader, Ayman al-Zawahri.
A U.S. official confirmed that al-Ansi was dead, but would not say whether his death was the result of a drone strike.