Mon, 30 Mar 2020

Al-Qaida Confirms Death of AQAP Leader, Names Sucessor

Voice of America
24 Feb 2020, 05:35 GMT+10

The Site Intelligence Group reported on Sunday that the al-Qaida confirmed the death of Qasim al-Rimi, the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

According to reports, AQAP announced Khalid Battarfi is the new leader of al-Qaida in Yemen. Battarfi was Rimi's deputy and had been responsible for the group's media over the past years.

U.S. President Donald Trump had announced early in February the United States had killed Rimi in a counterterrorism operation in Yemen.

The U.S. government considers the AQAP as one of the deadliest branches of the al-Qaida network.

"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 was one of 23 men who had escaped in the February 2006 prison-break in Yemen, along with other al-Qaida members. He was also connected to a July 2007 suicide bombing that killed eight Spanish tourists.

The U.S. government had offered a $10 million reward for information on Rimi.

Rimi joined al-Qaida in the 1990s under the Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. He 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, U.S. officials confirmed that Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In January, the U.S. carried out a strike that killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

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