Trump unveils Middle East peace plan 280120 CREDIT White House.jpg
USA

Trump: US Operation Killed Al-Qaeda Leader Al-Rimi

President Donald Trump said the United States and its allies are safer as a result of his death.

Trump unveils Middle East peace plan 280120 CREDIT White House.jpg

Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader has been killed in a US counter-terrorism raid in Yemen.

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.

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 because of 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.

"We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm," he said.

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.

On 1 February, the US President retweeted several other tweets and media reports that seemed to offer confirmation that the strike had killed al-Rimi.

In an 18-minute video, al-Rimi had said that his group was responsible for the 6 December shooting at the Florida base.

He called the shooter, Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani, a "courageous knight" and a "hero".

The shooter opened fire inside a classroom at the base, killing three people and wounding two sheriff’s deputies before one of the deputies killed him. Eight others were also hurt.

The shooting focused public attention on the presence of foreign students in American military training programmes and exposed shortcomings in the screening of cadets.

In January, the US sent home 21 Saudi military students, saying the trainees had "derogatory material" in their possession.

Seventeen of the 21 had "social media containing some jihadi or anti-American content", while 15 "had some kind of contact with child pornography".