Nasser al-Wahishi

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Nasser al-Wahishi (also transliterated Naser and Wuhaishi) is believed to head Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He escaped from a prison, in the capital of Yemen, in 2006. His escape was reported to have been helped by sympathizers in the security services. [1] While he regarded himself as more a peer than a subordinate of Osama bin Laden, he has been mentioned as a possible successor to bin Laden as the world face of al-Qaeda.[2]

He is from the southern Yemenite province of al-Baida. "He spent time in Yemen’s religious institutes before traveling to Afghanistan in the late 1990s, where he eventually became one of Osama bin Laden’s assistants. He fought at the Battle of Tora Bora before escaping over the border into Iran, where he was eventually arrested by Iranian authorities and then extradited to Yemen in 2003. His presence, along with that of his deputy, Qasim al-Raimi.[3] Saeed al-Saudi Shahrani also has been described as his deputy.

Al-Wahishi appears to have survived a 24 December 2009 air raid. [4]


  1. "Yemen Open to Al Qaeda Dialogue", Associated Press, 10 January 2009
  2. James Hyder (11 January 2009), "Yemen offers to strike a deal with al-Qaeda fighters", Times (UK)
  3. Christopher Boucek, Gregory Johnson, Waq al-Way, Shari Villarosa (7 January 2009), Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  4. "Dozens killed in Yemen 'Al Qaeda' air raid", Agence France Presse, 24 December 2009