DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The U.S. has killed the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in war-torn Yemen, raising questions about the jihadi group's operations and its future. President Donald Trump said the United States "conducted a counterterrorism operation" that eliminated Qassim al-Rimi, according to a White House statement released on Thursday. But what does this mean for AQAP and for Yemen, where a five-year war between the government -- backed by a Saudi-led military coalition -- and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels has crippled the country? Al-Rimi was named AQAP leader after his predecessor, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Yemen in June 2015. He was one of the group's founders in 2009 and its first military commander.
In this Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, photograph, a photographer changes his lens by a rusting Soviet-era tank near Mukalla, Yemen, at an airport now serving as a military base for the United Arab Emirates. The port city of Mukalla, once held by al-Qaida, shows how fractious Yemen is and will remain even if the Saudi-led war in the country ends in an uneasy peace for the Arab world's poorest nation. In this Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, photograph, two Emirati soldiers look out at the Gulf of Aden as boats take part in a military drill near Mukalla, Yemen, at an airport now serving as a military base for the United Arab Emirates. The port city of Mukalla, once held by al-Qaida, shows how fractious Yemen is and will remain even if the Saudi-led war in the country ends in an uneasy peace for the Arab world's poorest nation. MUKALLA, Yemen – Two years after al-Qaida militants withdrew from Yemen's eastern city of Mukalla, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates patrol the streets in armored vehicles, driving past secessionist murals and keeping an eye out for jihadi sleeper cells.
ATAQ, Yemen – Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West. Here's what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot. That's because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself. These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day -- and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.
WASHINGTON/SANAA/DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The U.S. military said Thursday it is investigating last weekend's raid by U.S. special operations forces in Yemen and that innocent civilians, including children, were apparently killed. U.S. Central Command said civilians may have been hit by gunfire from aircraft called in to assist U.S. troops, who engaged in a ferocious firefight with militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the group's Yemen affiliate. The military said the civilians may not have been visible to the U.S. forces because they were mixed in with combatants who were firing at U.S. troops "from all sides to include houses and other buildings." Nasser al-Awlaki told The Associated Press that among the children killed was his 8-year-old granddaughter Anwaar, an American citizen. Her father was Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen in 2011.
ADEN, YEMEN – A suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group and a second attack killed 37 police on Sunday in the Yemeni port of Mukalla where a year of al-Qaida rule was ended just last month, medics said. It was the second attack in days claimed by the Islamic State in the city of 200,000 people which was recaptured by government forces from the rival jihadis of al-Qaida with U.S. backing. The suicide bomber killed at least 31 police recruits on the southwestern outskirts of the city, which is the capital of Hadramawt province, medics said. The bomber detonated an explosives belt as he joined a line of men at a police recruitment center, a provincial official said. More than 60 people were also wounded in the attack in Fuwah district, a medical source said.