WASHINGTON, — U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that the United States had conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that killed Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). “The United States conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Rimi, a founder and the leader of al-Qa’ida (al-Qaeda) in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri,” said Trump in a statement released by the White House. According to the statement, al-Rimi, who joined al-Qaeda in the 1990s, was working in Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden, founder and the former al-Qaeda leader who was killed by the U. S. troops in 2011.
Under al-Rimi, AQAP committed violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct attacks against the United States and U.S. forces, the statement noted, adding that al-Rimi’s death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qaeda movement.
Citing persons familiar with the matter, The Washington Post reported that al-Rimi was killed in a U.S. drone strike in late January.
U.S. State Department had offered 10 million U.S. dollars in reward for information leading to the capture of al-Rimi, who was linked to several plots against the U.S. interests.
According to U.S. media reports earlier this month, AQAP claimed that it directed the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last December, which killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded 8 other Americans.
Last month, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the shooting, which was carried out by a member of the Saudi Air Force, was “an act of terrorism.”