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Yemen’s al-Qaeda confirms leader’s killing, names successor

Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen on Sunday confirmed the killing of its leader Qasim al-Rimi, weeks after the United States said it had killed him.

Sana’a, 24 February 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen on Sunday confirmed the killing of its leader Qasim al-Rimi, weeks after the United States said it had killed him.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said in an audio statement that al-Rimi had been killed in a drone strike, but without saying when it took place.

The terrorist organization added that Khaled Batarfi had been named to succeed him.

Batarfi, a senior AQAP operative, is a designated terrorist wanted by the US.

He fought US troops in Afghanistan before he joined AQAP in Yemen in 2010, according to information from the US State department.

In 2018, Batarfi, a Saudi, called on al-Qaeda followers to step up attacks on Americans.

Earlier this month, the White House said al-Rimi was killed in a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen at the direction of President Donald Trump.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported that al-Rimi was killed on January 31 when a US drone hit a house used by al-Qaeda members near Yemen’s eastern province of Mareb.

Al-Rimi was the third major figure to be killed in a US strike in recent months.

In October, the US killed Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and in January top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in Baghdad on Trump’s orders.

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