President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to make America a safer place by combating terror threats — and that promise has reportedly just been kept yet again.
According to The Hill, reports indicate that U.S. officials believe a January drone strike in Yemen killed terror leader Qassim al-Rimi, the commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Officials at the White House, Pentagon, and CIA declined to comment on the matter, however, according to Yahoo News.
Drone strike kills al-Qaida leader
The New York Times, citing three unnamed current and former U.S. officials, was the first to report on al-Rimi’s death. Soon after, President Trump himself drew attention to it, The Hill reported, “retweeting a reporter and a member of a group that tracks terrorists online who had posted about al-Rimi’s apparent killing.”
— Sean D. Naylor (@SeanDNaylor) January 31, 2020
Al-Rimi’s location in Yemen was reportedly revealed by an anonymous informer. He was then tracked for several months before a targeted drone strike in late January took out the terror leader and at least one other jihadist who was with him.
If these reports are true, this is nothing short of a devastating blow to the AQAP, according to The Hill. The group has successfully launched attacks against Americans and American interests in the past, and was suspected of plotting additional strikes in the future.
“He’s a real bad actor,” Mick Mulroy, a retired CIA officer and former deputy assistant secretary of defense, said of al-Rimi, according to Yahoo News. “This is a big win for us.”
A legacy of evil
There is no question that al-Rimi was a bad guy who posed a real threat to the U.S. According to reports, he was a member of al-Qaida dating back to its days in Afghanistan training camps prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks that sparked the broader (and ongoing) War on Terror.
Al-Rimi is believed to have returned to his home country of Yemen in the mid-2000s, where he was ultimately jailed for his role in a plot to kill a U.S. ambassador, though he managed to escape from prison about one year into a five-year sentence, according to Yahoo News. Following the jailbreak, al-Rimi quickly rose through the ranks of al-Qaida leadership and was eventually placed in charge of AQAP, where he helped coordinate and lead other plots against the U.S.
The terror leader had a $10 million bounty placed on his head by the State Department following his rise in the jihadist command structure and was reportedly the target of an unsuccessful raid in Yemen by U.S. Navy SEALs in 2017, Yahoo News noted.
Hopefully, the reports of al-Rimi’s death by airstrike will soon be publicly confirmed, and other avowed terrorist leaders like him suffer a similar fate.
President Trump has not shied away from using the vast might and technological prowess of the U.S. military to keep Americans safe — even as he has stridently avoids expanding existing conflicts and starting new ones — and that is something that all Americans should be pleased about.