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Trump announces death of al-Qaeda leader in Yemen after US strike

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE on Thursday confirmed the death of an al-Qaeda leader in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Trump said the U.S. carried out a successful counterterrorism operation that killed Qasim al-Rimi, the founder and leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an affiliate of the terrorist group. The strike also killed a deputy of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, though the White House did not specify who.

"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," Trump said. "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."

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The New York Times first reported last week that the U.S. carried out an airstrike that was believed to have killed al-Rimi.

The AQAP leader has ties to the group dating back as far as before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and he has been linked to multiple other plots targeting Americans. The State Department previously offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture.

The death of al-Rimi marks the third significant terrorist killed in a U.S. operation in recent months.

The U.S. in October killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and in January carried out a strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

The latter led the U.S. and Iran to the brink of military engagement before tensions simmered.