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AQAP confirms death of leader, appoints successor: SITE

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on Sunday confirmed the death of its leader, Qassim al-Rimi, and appointed a successor, weeks after the U.S. said it had "eliminated" the Islamist militant chief, SITE Intelligence group said. The announcement came in an audio speech delivered by AQAP religious official, Hamid bin Hamoud al-Tamimi, said the group, which monitors jihadi networks worldwide. "In his speech, Tamimi spoke at length about Rimi and his jihadi journey, and stated that Khalid bin Umar Batarfi is the new leader of AQAP," it said. SITE said Batarfi has appeared in many AQAP videos over the past several years and appeared to have been Rimi's deputy and group spokesman. President Donald Trump announced Rimi's death earlier this month, saying he had been killed in a U.S. "counterterrorism operation in Yemen."

U.S. killing of leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula hurts group in Yemen

The Japan Times

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.

Al Qaeda bomb maker killed in Yemen drone strike last year, US official confirms

FOX News

Ibrahim al-Asiri is seen in these images supplied to Yemeni police as part of a terror suspect handbook. A top Al Qaeda bomb maker who masterminded a plot to bring down an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year, a senior U.S. official told Fox News Monday. The Associated Press previously reported that Ibrahim al-Asiri was dead, citing a tribal leader and an Al Qaeda-linked source who said that he was killed in the governate of Marib in eastern Yemen. The tribal leader said that al-Asiri was struck by the drone, along with two or four of his associates, as he stood beside his car. Al Qaeda itself has remained silent about its top bomb maker.

Al-Qaida bomb master killed in US strike, officials say

FOX News

CAIRO – Al-Qaida's chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who was behind the 2009 Christmas Day plot to down an airliner over Detroit and other foiled aviation-related terror attacks, was killed in a U.S. drone strike, Yemeni officials and a tribal leader said Friday. The killing of al-Asiri deals a heavy blow to the group's capabilities in striking western targets and piles pressure on the group that already lost some of its top cadres over the past years in similar drone strikes. A Yemeni security official said that al-Asiri is dead; a tribal leader and an al-Qaida-linked source also said that he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the eastern Yemeni governorate of Marib. The tribal leader said that al-Asiri was struck, along with two or four of his associates, as he stood beside his car. He added that al-Asiri's wife, who hails from the well-known al-Awaleq tribe in the southern governorate of Shabwa, was briefly held months ago by the UAE-backed forces and later released.

A look at al-Qaida's most lethal branch, Yemen's AQAP

FOX News

ADEN, Yemen – Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, is considered the most dangerous branch of the terror network after a series of failed attacks on U.S. soil. AQAP has been enmeshed in conflicts in impoverished Yemen for nearly 20 years -- at times working with the government and at times facing crackdown, all the while building ties among tribes in the mountainous countryside to establish refuges and allies. The first anti-American attack in Yemen linked to al-Qaida took place in 1992 when a group called the Islamic Jihad Movement attacked a hotel in the southern city of Aden housing U.S. troops heading to Somalia, killing a Yemeni and an Australian. The group was made up of jihadis who had returned from Afghanistan, where they fought the Soviets alongside Osama bin Laden. The group fell apart after defections spurred by its cozy relationship with ruling authorities as then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh used AQAP fighters to liquidate his top foes, the socialists.

US drone strike kills five suspected al-Qaeda fighters

Al Jazeera

A US drone strike has killed five suspected members of al-Qaeda in central Yemen, according to local news media and a government security official. Yemen Ajel, a local news website, reported that the drone fired three consecutive missiles at 12:30am local time on Sunday, or 22:30 GMT on Saturday, at a car reportedly transporting weapons to Marib province. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a military official told AFP news agency that the car belonged to a local leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The strike comes 24 hours after a similar raid killed three suspected AQAP operatives in the southern Shabwa province, which has been a central target of the US military. The US has stepped up its use of drone strikes under President Donald Trump, with the Pentagon confirming more than 70 strikes since February 28.

8 Al Qaeda operatives killed in drone strike in Yemen, including key leader

FOX News

A key leader of the terror group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen on Sunday, the Pentagon said. Abu Ahmed Al Awlaqi had led operations for the group in the Shabwa province. He also planned external attacks and coordinated the group's movement of weapons and explosives, authorities said. The death of the leader, according to Navy Captain Jeff Davis, was the result of a monthslong campaign designed to kill leaders of the group and other Yemeni operatives. Seven other members of the group were also killed in Sunday's strike, Davis said.

Drone strikes kill suspected al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen

Al Jazeera

A US drone strike killed two suspected members of al-Qaeda in southern Yemen, said a security official and residents. Saturday's raid in Ahwar, in the southern province of Abyan, killed two suspected fighters on a motorbike, the security official said. It came after two days of intensive air strikes by US warplanes on fighters in the war-torn country. Tribal sources and residents said another drone fired at a crowd of suspected al-Qaeda militants in al-Saeed, in the adjacent province of Shabwa, but there were no reports on casualties in that incident. On Friday, the Pentagon said it carried out "somewhere over 30" strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in two days, conducted in partnership with the Yemeni government.

What happened the night the first U.S. soldier was killed in combat during Trump's presidency

Los Angeles Times

It was past midnight on a moonless night in central Yemen, and Ahmad Jawfi was preparing to go to sleep when he heard the dull buzz of drones overhead. Drones were nothing new, so he and others paid little attention. But soon, a military operation unfolded that left 14 Al Qaeda fighters dead and took the lives of at least 11 women and children and one U.S. commando. The operation last Sunday on the village of Yakla by SEAL Team 6 was to showcase the Trump administration's decisiveness in the fight against Al Qaeda. The attack, the first Special Operations raid authorized by President Trump, targeted the house of a suspected leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula named Abdel Raouf Dhahab.

Suspected US Drone Strikes In Yemen Kill 8 Militants: Residents

International Business Times

Drone attacks killed eight men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Saturday night, local residents said, as a U.S. campaign against the militant group goes on amid a wider civil war in the country. Two missiles hit the fighters who had gathered in courtyards in the villages of al-Hudhn and Naqeel al-Hayala, residents from the southern coastal province of Abyan told Reuters by phone. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of a war pitting the Iran-allied Houthis against forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to grab territory and operate more openly. The group has carried out attacks against the Yemeni state for years, plotted to blow up U.S.-bound airliners and claimed responsibility for the January 2015 attack in Paris on a French magazine that killed 12 people. The United States has kept up a drone campaign against the militants, although it evacuated the last of its military and intelligence personnel from Yemen in March last year.