Yemen confirms al Qaeda’s military commander killed in strike


Abu Hurayrah Qasim al Raymi,

The Yemeni government confirmed that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s military commander was killed in an airstrike launched against the terror group on Jan. 15.

Abu Hurayrah Qasim al Raymi, the group’s military commander, was among six senior members of the terror group identified as being killed during an airstrike in the Al Ajasher region, a mountainous region between Saada and Jawf.

The government said it was certain that Raymi and al Qaeda leaders and operatives Aidh Jaber al Shabwani, Ammar Obada al Waili, Saleh al Tais, Abdullah Hadi al Tais, and Abu Ayman al Masri were killed in the strike that targeted two vehicles. Two other operatives, who have not been named, escaped, according to the Yemen Observer.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has not released a statement confirming or denying the deaths of Raymi and the other operatives.

Raymi was the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen before he yielded authority to Abu Nasir al Wuhayshi. Both Raymi and Wuhayshi were among 13 al Qaeda leaders and fighters who escaped from a Yemeni jail in 2006. In February 2009, Al Qaeda in Yemen merged with the Saudi branch and became Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Raymi was appointed the military commander of the group.

Shabwani was the leader of al Qaeda in the province of Marib. Abu Ayman al Masri was a master bomb-maker. He was said to have moved back and forth between Yemen and Afghanistan, where he directed suicide attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces.

The Jan 15 strike is the third since mid-December. The US used air-launched cruise missiles during the Dec. 17 strike that targeted al Qaeda camps in Sana’a and Abyan. The Yemeni government claimed it carried out the Dec. 24 airstrike that targeted Abu Nasir al Wuhayshi, his deputy Said al Shihri, Raymi, and radical US-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on US involvement in the Dec. 24 and Jan. 15 strikes. The Yemeni government claims it carried out all three strikes, but the Yemeni Air Forces is not thought to have the capability to carry out precision attacks.

Al Qaeda is known to operate several training camps in Sana’a, Abyan, and Shabwa provinces, and has the support of several influential tribes in Yemen.

The US has sought the Yemeni government’s assistance in cracking down on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula after two plots have been directly traced back to the terror group. The attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Eve 2009 and the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 US soldiers have been linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

For more on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the terror group’s leaders, see:

Radical US cleric survived airstrike in Yemen: family

US launches cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda in Yemen

Yemeni airstrike targets top al Qaeda leaders

Former Guantanamo detainee now al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula’s Mufti

Yemen permits wanted al Qaeda leaders to operate in the open

Al Qaeda opens new training camp in Yemen

Arabian Peninsula al Qaeda groups merge

Return to Jihad

A look at 10 of the most dangerous Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leaders:


Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Tyler says:

    Anyone starting to think Abu Ayman al Masri was the guy who stitched Mutallab’s undies together?

  • Meremortal says:

    The supply of jihadists with leadership and asymetric warfare capabilities is exhaustible. I’m confident we are degrading the quality of their network. And thanks for all your hard work, Bill.

  • joe says:

    It shouldn’t be all that hard to help the Yemeni govt to do this: lease them an F-15E +pilot for a day…. send it out with a Yemeni airforce nav/bombardier…. Let them pull the trigger…. presto!

    Aside from yet another ratnest of AQ, Yemen has something of potentially huge value in the War on Militant Islam: a genuine early _DIFFERENT_ version of the Koran.
    This knowledge cannot be spread wide enough, as it is proof that, just like all the other religious texts out there, the Koran has undergone revisions, drafts, evolutions and interpretations. This implies that it is NOT the pure unchangeable and unadulterated Word of Allah (a major tenet of traditionalist branches of Islam), and any insights within it need to be taken in context (eg: we are no longer in the 7th century!) and as allegorical in nature (if any truths lie within it at all).
    Theological dynamite.
    Maybe not the current crop of the brainwashed, but future generations, may therefore have a chance to develop a form of the religion that the rest of the world can live with (without dhimmitude!).

    Otherwise eventually the core values of convert or die will lead to genocide, possibly theirs. No-one with a conscience should desire this.

    Keep up the good work!

  • John and Teresa Garland says:

    Another one bites the dust, more on the way. Hope so…
    Enjoy your virgins, are you in for a big surprise.
    What a bunch of misguided losers.

  • kp says:

    Pure speculation but the odds are that both attacks are from US “anti-pirate” Reapers flying out of Djibouti. Nailing two vehicles with two missiles is not a Yemeni thing. It wouldn’t be the first time either.
    It’s just like Pakistan except the government claims more credit.

  • Kannan says:

    The revealing of different versions of Quran can be destabilizing those countries and makes matters much worse.Just think of Danish cartoon mess and just extrapolate and use imagination.
    It has not been conclusively proven that Quran is the source of the menace..may be Hadiths or some cultural memes that is practiced..but “Clash of civil” theory(which is quite apologetic in tone..ironically) says that Islamic civilization are “convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power”. That is the crux of it. Inferiority of power vs Perceived superiority of culture. Islam is just a fig leaf for political mobilization.
    Arabs hate and despise Asians and Black people..they use “Muslim brotherhood”..just for foot toilet paper..which South Asians and Africans are quite happy to provide.

  • Solomon2 says:

    “lease them an F-15E +pilot for a day…. send it out with a Yemeni airforce nav/bombardier…. Let them pull the trigger…. presto!”
    Precisely what the Saudis are doing…

  • mark says:

    Joe- you say-Aside from yet another ratnest of AQ, Yemen has something of potentially huge value in the War on Militant Islam: a genuine early _DIFFERENT_ version of the Koran.
    Can you direct me to your source for the different version of the Quaran? If it is indeed the case that it exists, it would be huge.


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