Qassim al-Rimi was a founder of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Photo Credit: Twitter)
US President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that US forces had killed the leader of jihadist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen. 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. Trump did not say when the operation was conducted or offer any details about how it was carried out.
Qassim al-Rimi was a founder of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP had claimed responsibility on Sunday for a December shooting at a US naval base in which a Saudi officer killed three sailors. The affiliate is considered the most active and dangerous branch of the global terrorist group in terms of its ability to carry out attacks on the US mainland.
The announcement confirmed indications that al-Rimi had been killed. Trump had been retweeting several other tweets and reports that seemed to offer confirmation that the strike had killed al-Rimi.
"We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm," Trump said, adding that US and its allies are safer as a result of his death.
Al-Rimi had posted an 18-minute video claiming his group was responsible for the shooting at the base on December 6. The shooter had opened fire inside a classroom at the base, killing three people and wounding two sheriff's deputies before one of the deputies killed him. Eight others were also hurt.