Last week, AQAP released an audio message form its new emir, Khalid Batarfi. In it, Batarfi renews his allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri on behalf of AQAP. He also praises the Taliban and Shabaab.
The past week has seen the harshest fighting between the two jihadist groups since April.
Al Jazeera released a documentary alleging that Bahrain and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula work together. Today, the al Qaeda branch denied this accusation in a letter to the editor.
While strikes against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have waned over the past year, they have not halted all together. AQAP remains a significant threat.
Counterterrorism operations against AQAP have significantly tapered off in 2018 after a massive increase in 2017. The strike that killed Jamal-al Badawi is the first in Yemen since mid-September 2018.
Al Qaeda’s As Sahab has released an essay blasting Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US. The essay’s author, identified as Sheikh Awab Bin Hasan al Hasni, portrays America as a declining power and touts the resurrection of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. AQAP also finally released the 58th issue of Al Masra newsletter, which focuses on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The United States has conducted 36 strikes in Yemen in 2018, roughly a quarter of last year’s record high of 131 strikes.
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.