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Yemeni al Qaida leader killed

Published 14/04/2015

Yemeni expatriates in Egypt protest against the Saudi-led coalition strikes. (AP)
Yemeni expatriates in Egypt protest against the Saudi-led coalition strikes. (AP)

Yemen's al Qaida branch says its leading cleric, a Saudi national who had a 5 million US dollar (£3.4 million) bounty on his head, has been killed.

The group said in a statement that Ibrahim al-Rubaish was killed in a drone attack two days earlier, but did not specify where the purported strike took place.

Yemeni and US officials had no immediate comment on the claim.

Al-Rubaish was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2006, after which he joined al Qaida in Yemen. He was considered the group's main ideologue and theological adviser and his writings and sermons were prominent in its publications.

Last year, he hailed the seizure of areas of land in Iraq and Syria by al Qaida's rival, the Islamic State group.

Earlier today, t he UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the leaders of Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son.

The resolution, approved in a 14-0 vote, is aimed at ending the Houthi military action against supporters of current president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The resolution demands that the rebels end their military campaign to take over the Arab world's poorest country, which has been pushed to the brink of collapse by ground fighting and Saudi-led air strikes in support of Mr Hadi.

Russia, which had insisted on an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, abstained in the Security Council vote.

The resolution imposes the weapons embargo on five men: Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi, Mr Saleh and the former president's eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The council called on all countries, especially Yemen's neighbours, to inspect cargo headed to Yemen if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe it contains weapons.

In addition, the council imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on the Houthi leader and Mr Saleh's son. The same sanctions were imposed on the other three men last November.

The resolution demands that all Yemeni parties, especially the Houthis, end violence and quickly resume UN-brokered negotiations aimed at a political transition.

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