“The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death.”
Late Thursday night, the White House announced that yet another counterterrorism operation had taken place and this time, Qasim al-Rimi, founder and al Qa-ida leader, was “successfully eliminated.”
The official White House statement:
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. Rimi joined al-Qa’ida in the 1990s, working in Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden. Under Rimi, AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces. 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. 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.
al-Rimi was openly hostile to the US and US interests, a flashback:
Three years ago, the Trump administration attempted to capture (or kill) al-Rimi, but was unsuccessful.
More from NBC:
Tribal leaders in Yemen said Saturday that a suspected U.S. drone strike destroyed a building housing al Qaeda militants the previous week, and Trump retweeted several tweets and media reports that seemed to offer confirmation that the Jan. 25 strike killed al-Rimi, The Associated Press reported at the time. The Arabian Peninsula branch is often referred to as AQAP.
“Under Rimi, AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces,” the White House said.
Al-Rimi was placed on the United States’ most-wanted terrorist list after taking over al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate in 2015.
A 2017 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen also had a secret objective to capture or kill al-Rimi, but he survived, military and intelligence officials told NBC News at the time. Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens of SEAL Team 6, 14 al Qaeda fighters and some civilians were killed in a firefight, officials have said.
A Defense Department spokesman at the time denied that al-Rimi was a target and said the military “never had any hope, intention or plan” of killing or capturing him in the operation.
Al-Rimi was also the deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is said to have succeeded Osama bin Laden as the leader of al Qaeda, the White House statement said.
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