The United States has killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), President Donald Trump said.
Qasim al-Raymi, who has led the jihadist group since 2015, was killed in a US operation in Yemen, the White House said.
The jihadist leader had been linked to a series of attacks on Western interests in the 2000s.
He took over the leadership after his predecessor was killed by a US drone strike.
AQAP was formed in 2009 from two regional offshoots of Al-Qaeda in Yemen in Saudi Arabia, with the goal of toppling US-backed governments and eliminating all Western influence in the region. It has had most of its success in Yemen, prospering in the political instability that has plagued the country for years.
Rumours of al-Raymi’s death in a US drone strike began circulating in late January. In response, AQAP released an audio message with al-Raymi’s voice on 2 February, in which he said AQAP was behind a deadly shooting at a US naval base in Pensacola, Florida.
The shooting took place in December, and the message may have been recorded earlier.
The statement from the White House has now confirmed al-Raymi’s death but did not say when he was killed.
“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 statement read.
“The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death.”
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