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

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed the death of an al-Qaida leader in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. 

Trump said the U.S. carried out a successful counterterrorism operation that killed Qasim al-Rimi, the founder and leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an affiliate of the terrorist group. He was a deputy to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"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. "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." 

Rimi joined al-Qaida in the 1990s, working in Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden, and has been linked to several plots targeting Americans. 

Rimi's death is the third significant terrorist killed in a U.S. operation in recent months. In October, the U.S. killed Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; in January, the U.S. carried out a strike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. 

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