The White House confirmed Thursday that top al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi was killed in Yemen in an airstrike at the direction of President Donald Trump.
What are the details?
The White House issued a statement that read:
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. Rimi joined al-Qa'ida 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-Qa'ida 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.
Last month, several media outlets reported that al-Rimi was killed by an airstrike — citing unnamed American officials — and one U.S. defense official told CNN at the time, "While we are aware of the reports alleging the death of AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi, the Department of Defense has nothing to offer on this matter."
Although the White House statement confirmed al-Rimi's death, it did not give a date for when the airstrike occurred.
Al-Rimi previously taunted President Trump in 2017, after an airstrike targeting the al Qaeda leader failed.
"The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands," al-Rimi said.