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Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the number three in al-Qaeda, praised the suicide attack targeting the CIA officers, saying it was “to avenge our good martyrs” and listing several militant leaders felled by U.S. drone strikes, while the chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, appeared alongside Balawi in a prerecorded video saying the attack was revenge for the drone strike that had killed Hakimullah’s ruthless predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, six months earlier.
On November 3, 2002, Derwish was incinerated in a CIA drone strike on the car he was riding in across the Yemeni desert, along with one of the USS Cole conspirators.
In August 2009 he would die in a U.S. drone strike in South Waziristan.