Since late April, Shabaab has released a series of videos emphasizing its place in al Qaeda’s global network. Two of the videos were recorded by the group’s emir, Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar, a normally reclusive figure. Abu Ubaydah refers to the Taliban’s emir as the “Commander of the Faithful” and Ayman al Zawahiri as the “father-emir” while addressing the mujahideen in Syria and Yemen.
The military has not produced detailed press releases for any strikes this year, continuing 2017’s limited transparency.
In his latest message, Hamza bin Laden warns that Shiites are expanding throughout the Middle East and claims that the Saudi government is incapable of stopping them. Hamza calls upon Muslims to support the jihadists in Yemen. He also criticizes the relationship between the Saudis and the US.
The US military has launched 22 airstrikes against al Qaeda int he Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State’s Yemeni branch, a spokesman told FDD’s Long War Journal.
The State Department has added Khalid Batarfi, an al Qaeda veteran and senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader, to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Batarfi threatened the US and Jews in a video released by AQAP just yesterday.
Ibrahim al Qosi, a former Guantanamo detainee, is one of three senior AQAP leaders featured in a video released this week titled, “Secrets, its Dangers and the Departure of the Best of Us.” The video is focused on the US drone campaign and the jihadists’ lapses in security.
CENTCOM identified the AQAP operatives who were killed as “key Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leaders.” Their responsibilities included “external operations facilitator,” an operative who paves the way for attacks outside of Yemen, an arms facilitator, and a member of its proselytizing council.
Pro al Qaeda jihadists reported on social media that Abu Hajar al-Makki, an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) propaganda official, was killed in a US drone strike earlier this week. The US has been targeting AQAP’s propagandists throughout the year and has also done so in the past.