16 Apr 2014

NZ man killed in counter-terror attack

9:35 pm on 16 April 2014

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed that a New Zealand man was killed during a counter-terrorism drone attack in Yemen last year.

Prime Minister John Key.

Prime Minister John Key. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Mr Key said the New Zealander was killed along with others, some of whom were al Qaeda operatives, including one Australian. The attack is understood to have happened in November last year.

Mr Key told reporters on Wednesday the Government had known for some time that the man was in Yemen and had links to a terrorist group.

The man was also an Australian citizen and has next-of-kin in New Zealand who were told some time ago that he had died.

"I was advised it was highly likely he was killed in the latter part I think of 2013. It took some time to absolutely confirm that through DNA," Mr Key said.

The Prime Minister put paid to speculation that the dead man is Mark Taylor, a New Zealander detained and deported from Pakistan in 2009 on suspicion of links with militants.

Mr Key said the man's name would not be released, but he was known as Muslim Bin John and would have been the subject of a New Zealand intelligence warrant.