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US troops kill Al Qaeda leader in Yemen

AFP/Washington
Filed on February 7, 2020 | Last updated on February 7, 2020 at 10.38 pm
us, america, al qaeda, leader, yemen

(AFP file)

Trump did not give any details about the circumstances or the timing of the operation.

President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that the US had killed the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - days after the militant group claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at a US naval base.

The US "conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qassim Al Rimi, a founder and the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)," Trump said in a White House statement.

AQAP claimed responsibility on Sunday for a December 6 shooting at US Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, in which a Saudi Air Force officer killed three American sailors. The announcement came with Trump touting US resolve following the killings of Daesh group leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in October last year and top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani three months later. Washington considers AQAP to be the worldwide militant network's most dangerous branch.

"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 Qaeda movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security," he said.

Trump did not give any details about the circumstances or the timing of the operation.

But it follows the killing of Al Rimi's predecessor Nasir Al Wuhayshi in June 2015, as part of the US's long-running drone campaign in Yemen.

The following year top regional AQAP leader Jalal Belaidi, alias Abu Hamza, was also killed in a drone strike in the war-torn country.


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