According to a bombshell new report from the NY Times, U.S. officials have expressed confidence that Al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi has been killed.
Per DailyMail, in 2017, al-Rimi notably sent President Donald Trump an audio message taunting him for a Special Operations Forces raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen that led to the first military combat death under the Trump administration
The NY Times reports
The United States has carried out an airstrike against the leader of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen after months of tracking him by using aerial surveillance and other intelligence, according to three current or former American officials.
The officials expressed confidence that the Qaeda leader, Qassim al-Rimi, was killed in a January airstrike in Yemen but were awaiting confirmation before making a public announcement.
If confirmed, his death could represent a significant blow to the Qaeda affiliate, which remains one of the most potent branches of the terrorist group. The Yemen branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has tried to attack the United States and Europe and is thought to still want to.
The group’s ability to orchestrate or attack targets in the West has atrophied in recent years, as American airstrikes have targeted their bomb-makers and English-language propagandists. But the group, American officials have previously said, remains a dangerous one.
Per DailyMail, U.S. officials have taken the gentle approach when announcing the success of this particular drone strike as they have learned in the past that they were too-quick to do so for other CIA drone strikes.
While military officials said they weren’t aware of any other attacks, both the CIA and the National Security Council would not comment.
In November, CIA personnel learned of al-Rimi’s location from an informant. The government then started using surveillance drones to track him, according to an U.S. official who was briefed on the strike.
Local news in Yemen reports that the strike killed two militant suspects in the area of Wadi Abedah in central Yemen, but did not identify who those people were.
Al-Rimi is a veteran of the Queda training camps in Afghanistan and whose ‘terrorist pedigree traces to the era before the September 11 attacks,’ NYT reports.
He then returned to Yemen and was sentenced to five years in prison there for plotting to kill the American ambassador there.
Al-Rimi broke out of jail after only a year and quickly rose in the ranks of the Qaeda affiliate.
A $5 million reward for any information leading to his capture was offered by the State Department. It was late doubled to $10million as al-Rimi was linked to numerous plots against the U.S.
In 2017, al-Rimi notably sent President Donald Trump an audio message taunting him for a Special Operations Forces raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen that led to the first military combat death under the Trump administration, CNN reports.