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Al-Qaida Confirms Death of AQAP Leader


FILES - A reproduction of a document released by the Yemeni Interior Ministry on January 15, 2010 shows two different undated portraits of Yemeni Qasem al-Rimi, the new military commander of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The terror group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has confirmed the death of its leader, Qasim al-Rimi, the Site Intelligence Group reported Sunday.

President Donald Trump said earlier this month that al-Rimi was killed in a U.S. "counterterrorism operation in Yemen," where the U.S. has carried out drone strikes against AQAP for several years.

"Under Rimi, AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces," Trump said Feb. 6. "His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qaida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security."

The Yemeni-based AQAP is a spinoff of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida and the U.S. regards it as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups.

Al-Rimi was one of 23 al-Qaida prisoners who escaped in 2006 from a Yemen prison and has been linked to several terror operations targeting Americans. He was also suspected of being involved in several high-profile terrorist attacks, including the July 2007 suicide bombing in Yemen, killing Spanish tourists.

AQAP was also behind the 2015 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine.

SITE reports that al-Rimi's deputy, Khalid Battarfi, is taking over as new AQAP leader.
Al-Rimi is the third major terrorist killed by the United States in recent months. Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up while being pursued by U.S. Special Forces in Syria in October.

A U.S. missile strike on a Baghdad airport killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani in January.