After days of speculation, the White House confirmed today that Qasim al-Raymi, emir of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in airstrikes last week. The news was held for a week while U.S. intelligence sought confirmation of the terrorist leader’s demise.
Last week, President Trump retweeted links speculating about the emir, but did not confirm with a Tweet of his own. Today, the White House released confirmation. There is no word whether anyone will receive the $10 million bounty for delivering information that alerted the United States to his whereabouts.
Qasim al-Raymi has a history of terrorist activities dating back to the 1990s. He was linked to the 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa and the 2009 “underwear bomber.” Recently, his group claimed responsibility for last year’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola by a Saudi National.
He took over the leadership after his predecessor was killed by a US drone strike.
AQAP was formed in 2009 from two regional offshoots of Al-Qaeda in Yemen in Saudi Arabia, with the goal of toppling US-backed governments and eliminating all Western influence in the region. It has had most of its success in Yemen, prospering in the political instability that has plagued the country for years.
Rumours of al-Raymi’s death in a US drone strike began circulating in late January. In response, AQAP released an audio message with al-Raymi’s voice on 2 February, which may have been recorded earlier.
This marks another major win for the Trump administration’s efforts against terrorists in the Middle East. Despite the accomplishments, mainstream media continues to suppress or downplay his success out of concern he will win reelection in November.