The US military “remains committed to defeating AQAP and denying it safe havens in Yemen.” AQAP remains entrenched in southern and central Yemen despite the active targeting of the group and its leaders by the US for eight years.
All three strikes took place in the province of Shabwa, where AQAP remains entrenched despite an offensive spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates to dislodge the group from southern Yemen.
Jund al Aqsa, an al Qaeda front group, is playing a major role in the rebel offensive in Hama province. The group released a video earlier today showing one of its drones dropping a small, unguided bomb on Syrian regime forces. Jund al Aqsa has endorsed Al Nusrah Front’s relaunch as Jabhat Fath al Sham (“Conquest of the Levant Front”), saying that al Qaeda’s senior leadership must have determined that it was in the best interests of the people and the jihad in Syria.
The US military announced that it targeted Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, a top military commander and planner for Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, in an airstrike late last month. It is unclear if he is dead or alive.
Just months prior to his death, Osama bin Laden ordered his right hand man to relocate the al Qaeda “brothers” out of North and South Waziristan. The al Qaeda men were to be moved to Afghanistan and other areas in Pakistan.
The attack took place in the tribal agency of Kurram, where the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network is known to have moved its base of operations.
A Twitter feed operated by Al Nusrah’s “correspondent” in the Latakia province posted four photos of the drone after it was downed.
The attack, which took place the Shawal Valley, a terrorist haven, is just the sixth recorded inside Pakistan this year. The US launched 117 drone strikes in Pakistan at the peak of the campaign in 2010.