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.
CENTCOM confirms that Jamal al-Badawi, an al Qaeda veteran who has been wanted for his role in the USS Cole Bombing, was targeted in an airstrike earlier this month. Press reports indicated that Badawi perished, but CENTCOM says his status is still being investigated.
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.
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.
Hezbollah media sources released a photo of a meeting between its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and Houthi leadership.