US offers $45 million reward for Al-Qaeda Yemen leaders
WASHINGTON - Agence France-PresseThe United States slapped $45 million in rewards on the heads of the leaders of one of Al-Qaeda's most dangerous subsidiaries on Oct. 14, seeking information on militants based in Yemen.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was formed in 2009 by Yemeni and Saudi jihadists to carry on the group's campaign in the homelands of late Yemen-born Saudi extremist Osama bin Laden.
Washington regards the group, which has a history of attempting inventive bomb attacks on Western and local targets, as one of the world's most potent terrorist organizations.
AQAP is alleged to have dispatched Nigerian "underpants bomber" Umar Abdulmutallab on a failed bid to down an airliner, and to have sent printers packed with explosives in a bid to hit cargo jets.
The group also publishes Al-Qaeda's English-language magazine "Inspire," designed to recruit foreign militants or to provoke lone wolf style attacks from radicals already living in Western countries. The State Department said its "Rewards for Justice Program" would pay $10 for information that would help it find AQAP's leader and $5 million for each of seven other senior militants.
It identified AQAP's leader as Nasir al-Wahishi, and said that in 2013, Bin Laden's successor as Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had named him as deputy head of the whole organization.
It also named seven other senior militants it blames for fundraising and directing bomb attacks.
AQAP fighters are often targeted in US drone strikes, but the group has proved resilient and has exploited from a breakdown in order in Yemen since the 2011 uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.