President Trump on Thursday confirmed the death of al-Qa'ida leader Qasim al-Rimi after a U.S. strike in Yemen. Al-Rimi claimed responsibility for the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola last year, in which three American soldiers were killed.
The White House released the following statement:
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.
The Associated Press reported on February 2 that a suspected U.S. strike destroyed a building that housed al-Qa'ida militants in January. President Trump retweeted several media reports that seemed to "offer confirmation" of al-Rimi's death, but nothing was confirmed until Thursday.