CENTCOM announced today that Abu Khattab al Awlaqi, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s emir for the Shabwah province in Yemen, was killed along with two associates in a June 16 airstrike that targeted “terrorist compounds and attack networks in Yemen.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) presented its written “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to the Senate last week. The analysis confirms that the Islamic State is capable of sustaining insurgencies in both Iraq and Syria, Afghan security continues to “deteriorate,” and al Qaeda remains a threat in several parts of the globe.
Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama, has released a new audio message in which he provides “advice for martyrdom seekers in the West.” Hamza’s message was disseminated less than a week after Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qasim al Raymi released a similar call for individual attacks in the West.
In a short video released yesterday, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) leader, Qasim al Raymi, reiterated his group’s call for “lone mujahid” attacks in the West. AQAP was an early innovator of the concept of “individual jihad,” but has been eclipsed by its rivals in the Islamic State in recent years. Raymi is attempting to move AQAP back to the fore of the “lone mujahid” effort.
AQAP released a lengthy “dialogue” with its emir, Qasim al Raymi, on April 30. Raymi discusses the complex war inside Yemen, AQAP’s desire to focus on the Houthis and his group’s general approach to waging jihad. He also cites a text written by Ayman al Zawahiri to explain why AQAP cooperates with other Islamists inside Yemen.
On March 9, Thomas Joscelyn testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The hearing, “Resolving the Conflict in Yemen: U.S. Interests, Risks, and Policy,” was called to explore the political dynamics of the ongoing war in Yemen, as well as the roles played by foreign actors and al Qaeda.
The Pentagon announced today that a former Guantanamo detainee, Yasir al Silmi, was killed in a bombing on Mar. 2 in Yemen. Joint Task Force Guantanamo identified al Silmi, also known as Muhammad Yasir Ahmed Taher, as a “high” risk and warned that he would “engage in extremist activities upon release.” He was transferred to Yemen on Dec. 19, 2009.
Al Qaeda agitated for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman’s release from a US prison for more than 20 years. Rahman, whose teachings had a significant influence on al Qaeda’s development, was convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack several New York City landmarks.