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Nasir al-Wuhayshi

Nasir al-Wuhayshi is a citizen of Yemen and the leader of the Islamist militant group Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He once served as Osama bin Laden's secretary and presided over the January 2009 merger of the Saudi Arabian and Yemeni splinters of Al Qaeda into AQAP. Ayman Al-Zawahiri confirmed al-Wahayshi's appointment as leader of AQAP in a video posted online. Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen consider the militant leader to be among their most wanted fugitives.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi served as a private secretary to Osama bin Laden for years in Afghanistan. He left Afghanistan in 2001 and was soon arrested by Iranian authorities, who handed him over to his native Yemen two years later where he was imprisoned without charges. In February 2006, Nasir al-Wuhayshi was one of 23 Yemeni captives who escaped from custody from a maximum security prison in Sana'a.

Al-Wuhayshi became the leader of Al-Qaeda's Yemeni operations after the former leader was killed in a US Predator drone strike in 2002.  His authority seems to derive mostly from his long proximity to Osama bin Laden.

Nasir al-Wuhayshi and three other men appeared in several threatening videos released in January 2009.  Al Wuhayshi published an additional video calling for violence in February.  He claimed the increase in western warships off the Horn of Africa to fight piracy were really intended to oppress Islam. According to Yemeni military officials he was killed in southern Yemen on August 28, 2011.  On Oct. 25, 2011, AQAP denied that he was killed.

On December 6, al-Wuhayshi released a statement on jihadist websites that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsulate would be intervening in the Siege of Dammaj on the side of Salafi students fighting the Shi'a Houthi militia.  A member of a local tribe reported on December 22 that Abdel al-Wuhashi, a younger brother of Nasir, was killed by Yemen military forces.

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