The White House confirmed the extermination of Al-Qaeda leader Qasim al-Raymi on Friday, February 7. Al-Raymi led the operations of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He led the AQAP since 2015 after his predecessor Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike in 2015. He was killed in an American operation in Yemen.
White House confirms elimination of Qasim al-Raymi
"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", White House said in its statement. "The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death". "We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm", the statement added.
What is AQAP and who is its leader Qasim al-Raymi?
Formed in 2009, AQAP works to topple the US-backed governments and eliminate all western influence in the region. The militant organization has been especially successful in Yemen, where political civil war and political instability have produced considerable dividends for AQAP.
Earlier trained in Afghanistan, Qasim al-Raymi took the reins of AQAP after his predecessor Nasir al-Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike. Reports about his death started surfacing in late January but weren't confirmed by the White House. In response, AQAP released an audio message with al-Raymi's voice on February 2, which might have been recorded earlier.
"At the direction of President Donald J Trump, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qa'ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri", the White House confirmed on February 7. The statement, though, hasn't specified the date on which he was killed.
On January 3, a US drone strike at Baghdad International airport killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, along with Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The same day, the US carried out an operation in Yemen in an unsuccessful attempt to kill another Iranian commander Abdul Reza Shahlai. The US President Donald Trump is seeking re-election in the 2020 Presidential elections.