President Donald Trump confirmed on Feb. 6 that U.S. forces have killed Qassim al-Rimi, leader of the extremist Islamist group al Qaeda (also al-Qa’ida) in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Rimi claimed responsibility for December’s tragic shooting at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida that left three people dead.
Al-Rimi killed in a counterterrorism operation in Yemen, Trump confirmed in a statement on Thursday evening, without elaborating on the date of his death.
“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,” a statement from the White House read.
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,” Trump continued.
“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 president said.