US Believes Airstrike Killed Leader of Al Qaeda Branch in Yemen

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

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

The United States conducted a strike recently targeting Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group's franchise based in Yemen that has repeatedly expressed interest in conducting attacks targeting the United States, a USA official told CNN on Friday.

Qassim al-Rimi ridiculed the president in 2017 after a failed USA military strike in Yemen meant to target him.

Last year, the White House confirmed that USA forces killed a senior terror coordinator for al-Qaeda, Ibrahim al-Asiri, in a counterterrorist operation in Yemen.

Donald Trump appeared on Saturday to confirm the death of Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen, through a series of tweets.

The tribal leaders said at least three explosions hit the area, and the building was set ablaze.

Citing three current and former American officials, the Times reported officials are confident Qassim al-Rimi was killed, but haven't yet confirmed the takedown.

It wasn't immediately clear how many militants were in the building at the time or their identities, the AP reported. Before the strike had been publicly confirmed by either USA authorities or AQAP, he retweeted posts from an intelligence analyst and a reporter that discussed reports of Rimi's death.

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

Military and national security officials refused to comment on media reports on al-Rimi's possible death.

The CIA declined to comment on the report.

Among Trump's retweets was a thread by Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks messaging by militant groups.

But Trump retweeted posts from an independent intelligence analyst that said a targeted United States attack on January 25 took out the elusive terrorist.

Rimi reportedly became its leader following a 2015 drone strike that killed Nasir al-Wuhayshi. She was referring to al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

AQAP has always been considered the global network's most unsafe branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the USA mainland.

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. Al-Qaida and an Islamic State affiliate have exploited the chaos to expand their presence in the country.

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