Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi

Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi was a senior leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and regularly featured in the group’s propaganda videos.Joscelyn, Thomas; Adaki, Oren, “AQAP Official calls on Rival Factions to Unite Against the West,” Long War Journal, October 1, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/10/aqap_leader_calls_on.php. Al-Ansi took an active role in advertising the kidnapping and eventual murder of American hostage Luke Somers in December 2014.“Yemen’s al-Qaeda threatens American hostage Luke Somers in new video,” Huffington Post, December 14, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/04/yemen-luke-somers_n_6268302.html. In January 2015, al-Ansi featured in the AQAP video claiming responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and praised the perpetrators as “heroes of Islam.”“Al-Qaeda Claims French Attack, Derides Paris Rally,” Sami Aboudi, Reuters, January 14, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/14/us-france-shooting-aqap-idUSKBN0KN0VO20150114. He was reportedly killed by a U.S. airstrike in April, 2015.Simon Tomlinson, “Senior Al-Qaeda figure who claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attacks is killed alongside his son in US air strike,” Daily Mail, May 7, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3072559/Al-Qaeda-says-prominent-member-killed-US-strike-Yemen.html.

Al-Ansi had long been involved in Islamist activity. In the 1990s he travelled to Bosnia to fight against the Serbian paramilitaries.“Who is AQAP terror group commander al-Ansi?,” Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, January 14, 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/14/dnt-paton-walsh-al-ansi-profile.cnn. In 1998 he traveled to Afghanistan to join al-Qaeda,Joscelyn, Thomas; Adaki, Oren, “AQAP Official calls on Rival Factions to Unite Against the West,” Long War Journal, October 1, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/10/aqap_leader_calls_on.php. and was personally directed by Osama bin Laden to train mujahideen forces in the Philippines.Joscelyn, Thomas; Adaki, Oren, “AQAP Official calls on Rival Factions to Unite Against the West,” Long War Journal, October 1, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/10/aqap_leader_calls_on.php. Following 9/11, he attempted to return to Afghanistan to fight U.S. troops, but was detained by Yemeni authorities for six months.“Who is AQAP terror group commander al-Ansi?,” Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, January 14, 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/14/dnt-paton-walsh-al-ansi-profile.cnn. After he was freed, al-Ansi enrolled in the Iman Unviersity in Yemen where he received a certificate in sharia jurisprudence. According to the Long War Journal, al-Ansi reportedly preached “among the young” and conducted “some special training” during this time.Joscelyn, Thomas; Adaki, Oren, “AQAP Official calls on Rival Factions to Unite Against the West,” Long War Journal, October 1, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/10/aqap_leader_calls_on.php. Al-Ansi eventually linked up with AQAP, and by 2011 had risen through the ranks to become a senior commander and spokesman.Joscelyn, Thomas; Adaki, Oren, “AQAP Official calls on Rival Factions to Unite Against the West,” Long War Journal, October 1, 2014, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/10/aqap_leader_calls_on.php. He operated out of Yemen.Thomas Joscelyn, “Osama bin Laden’s files: al Qaeda’s deputy general manager in Yemen,” Long War Journal, March 1, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/tags/nasser-bin-ali-al-ansi.

 
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