The US State Department announced today that it is offering rewards for information on two senior AQAP leaders: Qasim al-Raymi and Khalid al-Batarfi. Both men attended al Qaeda’s training camps in pre-9/11 Afghanistan before assuming leadership roles in Yemen.
AL Qaeda’s operatives are fighting in more countries around the world today than was the case on 9/11. And its leaders still want to target the United States and its interest and allies. The war they started is far from over.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released a new video that includes the testimony of several “spies” who have allegedly helped the Saudis and Americans hunt down the group’s members. There are reasons to be skeptical of AQAP’s claims, but the organization is clearly concerned that spies will do more damage to its hierarchy.
The United States has conducted a total of 34 strikes in Yemen in 2018, all of which targeted Al Qaeda barring one strike against the Islamic State in Jan. 2018. However the military is not likely to top last year’s high.
The death of Ibrahim al Asiri, one of the most dangerous and wanted men in the world, has yet to be confirmed. If he is confirmed to have been killed, his death will likely have minimal impact on AQAP as he has shared his expertise for well over a decade.
CENTCOM released the dates and general locations of the last 18 counterterrorism strikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Since early 2017, the military has provided few details on the Yemen air campaign, typically only providing an aggregate number and scant information on high-value target strikes.
Two regional combatant commands acknowledged reports of civilian casualties in recent operations.
The US military has conducted 27 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen in 2018, but has only provided complete information on two. One of the strikes hit an AQAP training camp in Hadramout.