Abu Hamza and the Islamic Army

The kidnappers

ACCORDING to witnesses, between 15 and 20 men took part in kidnapping the Explore Worldwide tourists on December 28. During the ill-fated rescue by the Yemeni military next day, two kidnappers were killed and three were arrested. Two more suspects were arrested on January 27. A further two men were said to have given themselves up.


Zain al-Abdin Abu Bakr al-Mihdar ("Abu al-Hassan"), aged 32. Commander and founder of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan. Fought with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Arrested December 29.

Ahmad Muhammad Ali Atif, aged 26. Brother of Sa'ad. Allegedly arrested December 29. Claimed he was in Rada at the time of the kidnapping, having gone there to look for his brother.

Sa'ad Muhammad Ali Atif, aged 19. Brother of Ahmad. Allegedly arrested December 29. He said he could not have taken part in the kidnapping because he was already detained after being arrested on December 23.

Abdullah Muhsin Salih al-Junaidi ("Abu Hadhifa") - Yemeni. Arrested on January 27.

Hussein Muhammad Salih ("Abu Huraira") - Tunisian. Arrested on January 27.

Sa'id al-Fayadhi al-Malqab ("Abu Nasser al-Awlaqi") - surrendered February 6.

Salim al-Fayadhi al-Malqab ("Abu Abdullah") - surrendered February 6.


"Usama al-Masri". The name is an alias. Egyptian terrorist who was operational leader of the Islamic Army. Known and wanted by the authorities in Cairo. He reportedly belonged to the Egyptian jihad group formerly led by Ayman al-Zawahiri. Killed.

Ali al-Khadr al-Haj, 25. Taxi driver from Kokab village, about 2km from where the shoot-out took place. Killed.


Ali Awad Ba-Rasayn

Ali Ahmad Haydarah

Rusan Muhammad Salih

Jalal al-Khudr

Muhammad Ali al-Humar

Abu Ubayd

Salim al-Badawi

According to the Yemeni newspaper, al-Usbu'a (31.12.98), three Algerians and two Somalis took part but escaped.