A day after US President Donald Trump was acquitted by the US Senate in the impeachment trial, the US security forces scored a major victory under his leadership by eliminating Qasim al-Rimi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). This development comes just a month after US security forces killed Iranian Quds Force chief General Qassem Soleimani, considered as the second-most powerful figure in Iran. As per the official statement from the White House, al-Rimi worked for Al-Qaeda supremo Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden since the 1990s.
Furthermore, the statement noted that al-Rimi had indulged in violence not just against US security forces but also against civilians in Yemen. It highlighted the fact that his death was a big blow to the “global Al-Qaeda movement”. According to the White House, the allies of the US were much safer now.
“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-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Rimi joined Al-Qaeda 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-Qaeda 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.”
AQAP was formed in 2009 aiming to topple US-backed governments and Western influence in the Arabian Peninsula. Rimi became the leader of AQAP in 2015. This terrorist outfit claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting by a Saudi Arabian national at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2019.
The AQAP chief is also suspected to be involved in the 2008 attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa. Additionally, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2005 for plotting to assassinate the US Ambassador to Yemen. The US State Department had announced a reward of 10 million US dollars for information on his whereabouts.