Qassim Al-Rimi, the terrorist group’s Arabian Peninsula leader and deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in the operation which was ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Mr Trump’s announcement confirmed earlier indications that al-Rimi had been killed. In late January, a suspected US drone strike destroyed a building housing Al-Qaeda militants in eastern Yemen. Also, on February 1, Mr Trump retweeted several other tweets and media reports that seemed to offer confirmation that the strike had killed al-Rimi.
Al-Rimi had claimed responsibility for last year’s deadly shooting at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, where a Saudi aviation trainee killed three American sailors.
Al-Rimi founded the peninsula’s affiliate, which has been long considered the global network’s most dangerous branch for its attempts to carry out attacks on the US mainland.
Mr Trump said the US and its allies are safer as a result of his death. He said: ‘We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm.
While Mr Trump confirmed reports that al-Rimi had been killed, he did not say when the US operation was conducted or offer any details about how it was carried out.
Al-Rimi had said in an 18-minute video that his group was responsible for the December 6 shooting at the Florida base. He called the shooter, Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani, a ‘courageous knight’ and a ‘hero’.