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Arabian al Qaeda's number two confirmed dead - AQAP

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Saudi second-in-command of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen, AQAP said on Wednesday.

Said al-Shehri was described by U.S. officials as one of the most important al Qaeda-linked militants to be released from the Guantanamo detention facility in Cuba, where he was taken in January 2002 after Pakistan handed him to U.S. authorities.

He went on to become AQAP's second-in-command.

In January, Yemeni authorities said he had died after suffering from injuries in an operation by Yemeni security forces on November 28, 2012, in the northern province of Saada.

Senior AQAP official Ibrahim al Rubaish in a video statement posted online he had been killed in a drone attack, but did not say when, according to SITE, a U.S. based monitoring website.

"I present my condolences to all the Mujahideen on the martyrdom of Said al-Shehri who was killed in a U.S. drone attack," said Rubaish.

AQAP, which has planned attacks on international targets including airliners, has been described by Washington, as perhaps al Qaeda's most dangerous and innovative affiliate.

(Reporting by Amena Bakr, Editing by William Maclean and Elizabeth Piper)

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