Trump appears to confirm killing of al-Qaida leader in Yemen


The Pentagon has not elaborated on the situation.

A US Defense Official told CNN, "While we are aware of the reports alleging the death of AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi, the Department of Defense has nothing to offer on this matter".

The CIA did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

AQAP has always been considered the global network's most risky branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the USA mainland. The area is known as a stronghold for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, as the Yemeni affiliate is known.

Al-Rimi, a veteran terror chief, was implicated in the 2008 attack on the American embassy in Sana, Yemen that killed 14, as well as in an "underwear bombing" plot in 2009, according to the New York Times.

Prior to 9/11, al-Rimi spent time in an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and later returned to Yemen where he was sentenced to five years in prison for plotting to kill the American ambassador.

Authorities reportedly said they'll continue to assess whether al-Rimi was killed in the strike by monitoring social media and messaging apps for evidence. USA officials believe he was the mastermind of the US embassy attack in Sana'a in September 2008.

US officials sceptical as Al Qaeda in Yemen claim Florida airbase shooting

In 2013, in a message "to the American nation", Rimi said: "Your security is not achieved by despoiling other nations' security or by attacking and oppressing them".

Trump re-tweeted a Yahoo News report confirming a drone strike by the United States that killed one of America's most wanted terrorists.

The United States has sought to prevent al-Qaeda from exploiting the chaos of Yemen's civil war to establish a safe haven, but the number of US military strikes has declined sharply over the last few years.

The U.S. military carried out 131 airstrikes in Yemen in 2017 and conducted 36 strikes in 2018, almost all of them targeting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

USA officials believe the leader of Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen was "likely" killed by an American airstrike earlier this month, a well-placed source told Fox News Friday.

The U.S. efforts to combat al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are separate from U.S. efforts to support the Saudi-led coalition fighting in the Yemen civil war.

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