Qaeda militant killed by brother in Yemen: officials

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 16, 2012 7:39 AM
Qaeda militant killed by brother in Yemen: officials

SANAA (Reuters) - A leader of al Qaeda's wing in Yemen was killed by his brother at a mosque on Thursday in a family dispute that also led to the brother being killed in a revenge attack, according to tribal and security sources.

Tareq al-Dahab, brother-in-law of slain U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed with five bodyguards by his brother Hizam and fighters from the Dahab tribe while praying in the early hours of Thursday at a mosque in al-Baydah province.

"Tareq al-Dahab and five of his bodyguards were killed in a mosque in the al-Manasih area near his home," said a tribal source. "His brother Hizam had three men with him and they killed Tareq and his men easily because they surprised them."

A security source earlier said Tareq was killed at his home.

His followers later avenged the deaths by blowing up Hizam's house, killing him, tribal sources said.

A third brother, Nabil al-Dahab, is now expected to become al Qaeda's leader in al-Baydah.

Tareq and his brothers, who have backed different sides in Yemen's complicated political scene, had been involved in a two-year struggle for the leadership of the Dahab tribe after their father's death.

Tareq, who lost out on leadership of the tribe to his eldest brother Majid, led an al Qaeda assault on the town of Radda some 170 km (105 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa last month.

Tribal sources said Hizam had supported outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who handed over to his deputy in November after protests in 2011 against his 33-year rule. It was not clear if this was a factor in the deadly fraternal feud.

Al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing emerged as one of its most active and ambitious after setbacks to al Qaeda groups in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited months of anti-Saleh unrest and other simmering conflicts in Yemen to gain and hold swathes of territory, especially in the south.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Nour Merza; Editing by Sophie Hares)