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White House confirms that Yemen al-Qaeda leader was killed in earlier drone strike

EPA-EFE/YAHYA ARHAB
A Yemeni walks past graffiti depicting a US drone, after a US drone raid killed an al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, in Sana'a, Yemen, 01 February 2020. According to reports, the United States has conducted a drone strike in the eastern Yemeni province of Marib, killing Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after months of tracking by using aerial surveillance and other intelligence.

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US president Donald Trump said that US forces have killed Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in an operation inside Yemen.
Rimi was the emir of the AQAP. He was involved in a large number of deadly terror attacks in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as well as a series of sophisticated airline bomb plots targeting the US.
“We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm”, Trump said on Thursday.
He became AQAP’s leader in 2015. Some experts considered him to be a possible successor to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda’s overall. Al-Qaeda has still not confirmed his death.
In 2017, Rimi was the supposed target of a US military action, which resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and of a number of civilians. After that, Rimi released an audiotape onto the internet in which he confirmed he was still alive and taunted Trump.
On 31 January media reported that US officials “expressed confidence” that Rimi was killed on 29 January in the Yakla area of Al Bayda Governorate, Yemen.
On 1 February Trump retweeted reports that appeared to confirm that the US had killed Rimi in a drone strike conducted by the CIA. On 6 February, the White House released a statement confirming Rimi’s death. It however, did not say when he was killed.
“His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qaeda movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security. The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death”, the White House said.

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