He escaped and left a taunting message for Trump.
Military intelligence officers have told NBC News that the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen targeted al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi.
Unfortunately, he survived the attack.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 6, 2017
From NBC News:
On Sunday, al-Rimi — who landed on the U.S. most-wanted terrorist list after taking over al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate in 2015 — released an audio recording that military sources said is authentic.
“The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” he said in an apparent reference to the Jan. 29 raid.
Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens died in the attack, the first casualty of President Donald Trump’s administration. The president made an unannounced trip to Delaware to honor the returning remains of Owen last Wednesday.
The White House and Pentagon did not make a comment. The White House had called the attack “a successful operation by all standards.” From NBC News:
“Certainly if the goal is to capture the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, that didn’t happen. It wasn’t successful in that regard,” he said.
“On the other hand, a number of al Qaeda leaders were killed, and al Qaeda was disrupted, at least in terms of that cell. They understand that the U.S. is willing to lean forward and perhaps they’re being deterred or disrupted in their activities.
“And we may have collected incredibly valuable intelligence that will lead to further disruptions and further counterterrorism activities down the road.”
While it happened under Trump’s watch, officials have said that preparation for this raid began under President Barack Obama:
Preparation spanned two administrations. After the election, the Pentagon presented the Obama team with a broad plan to accelerate U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Yemen, and the Obama administration referred the proposal to the incoming Trump team.
After two months of military preparation increasingly focused on the opportunity to capture al-Rimi, Trump was told by Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that his capture would be a “game changer,” according to a senior White House official with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The amount of people involved came only second to the package that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011:
two dozen SEALs, backed up by 30 to 40 other Americans on the ground and in the air. A half-dozen Yemeni soldiers and a dozen commandos from the United Arabs Emirates who had developed the intelligence leading to the target were also involved, and a Marine Corps Quick Reaction Force was waiting off shore, multiple officials say.
But everything unraveled right away. Officials do not know exactly what happened, but something alerted those inside the house of the incoming raid.DONATE
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