The former personal bodyguard and head of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s security detail is believed to have died in Yemen following a long illness.
Medical sources told the BBC that Nassar al-Bahri passed away on Saturday in a hospital in the southern Yemenite city of Mukalla. He was believed to have been in his 40s.
Al-Bahri, also known as Abu Jandal (meaning “Father of Death”), joined al-Qaeda in 1996 in Afghanistan, serving first as one of bin Laden’s 12 personal body guards and later heading the terror chief’s security detail until the year 2000.
First radicalized in his teens in Yemen, Al-Bahri fought in jihadi terror groups in Bosnia and Somalia in the early 90’s before making his way to Afghanistan where he met bin Laden.
After leaving al-Qaeda and returning to Yemen, he was arrested by security forces in February 2001 at the request of the United States and held without trial for nearly two years.
In subsequent interviews he has both expressed support for the September 11 attacks masterminded by his former boss and said he opposes actions that injure or kill civilians.
In a 2010 interview to the BBC, Bahri warned against rising extremism saying young people were particularly susceptible to radical ideas.
Al-Bahri detailed his experiences with the infamous al-Qaeda leader in his 2010 memoir, “Guarding bin Laden: My Life in al-Qaeda.”
Bin Laden was killed in a May 2011 raid by US special forces on his private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan after topping the US most wanted list for a decade.