President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that the United States had murdered Al Qaeda’s leader in the Arabian Peninsula after the militant group claimed responsibility for a mass shooting at a US naval base.
The US “conducted a counterterrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qassim Al Rimi, a founder and the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),” Trump said in a White House statement.
On Sunday, AQAP claimed responsibility for a shooting at US Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida on December 6, in which a Saudi Air Force had killed three American sailors, sources say.
Trump made the announcement after he praised US resolve following the murder of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in October last year and top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
The militant group had been caught in the midst of a long war between Yemen’s Saudi backed government and rebels in control of the capital.
“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,” Trump said.
“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.”