On Thursday evening, the White House announced the death of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) founder and leader Qassim al-Rimi in a military strike in Yemen at the direction of President Trump.
“His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qa-ida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security,” an official statement from the White House reads.
“The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death,” the statement continues.
In addition to being a leader of AQAP, Rimi was a deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the longtime second-in-command to Osama bin Laden who allegedly became the leader of al Qaeda following bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in 2011.
Rimi is also said to have worked under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan after joining al Qaeda in the 1990s.
He is attributed with orchestrating numerous acts of violence against civilians in Yemen and claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on December 6 at Naval Air Station Pensacola that killed three U.S. sailors.
In 2014, Rimi was placed on the State Department’s most-wanted list with an initial reward of $5 million.
By 2020, the reward was increased to $10 million following the attack in Pensacola.
The Arabian Peninsula faction of al Qaeda is considered by many security experts to be one of the most dangerous Islamic terror organizations in the world. The faction claimed responsibility for the 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that killed 12 and injured numerous others and also launched an attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen in 2008.
At the end of January, speculation of Rimi’s death circulated after a building with al Qaeda insurgents inside was destroyed by an airstrike.
Though President Trump retweeted various news reports alleging Rimi had been killed in the strike, the White House would not confirm the militant leader’s death at the time.
The announcement comes just weeks after Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for hundreds of American deaths, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad at the direction of President Trump.
Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.