The leader of al-Qaida’s Yemen branch swore revenge after a U.S. raid on a compound killed several terrorists and some civilians.
Qasim al-Raymi, head of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, accused the U.S. of killing civilians in the Sunday raid in an 11-minute audio address. He called upon loyal tribes to avenge the 14 men, 11 women and children allegedly killed in the raid. The Pentagon has acknowledged that civilians may have been killed in the raid, which also claimed the life of a U.S. Navy Seal, but it has not provided exact numbers.
#YEMEN#AQAP Leader Qasim Al-Raymi Calls For Revenge Against #US, Accuses Civilians Killing In Qifa Op. In New Audio Message. #TerrorMonitor pic.twitter.com/zoVOC58bZG
— Terrormonitor.org (@Terror_Monitor) February 4, 2017
U.S. Central Command confirmed Friday that the raid killed two senior al-Qaida leaders, Sultan al-Dhahab and Abd-al-Ra’uf al-Dhahab.
“Officials now believe that Sultan al Dhahab and Abd-al-Ra’uf [Abdulrauf] al Dhahab, two longstanding AQAP operational planners and weapons experts, were among the enemy killed at the scene.”
Both men “played key leadership roles in AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula),” according to The Long War Journal’s Bill Roggio. The two also are related to infamous al-Qaida hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, whose daughter is rumored to be among the civilians killed in the raid.
CENTCOM claimed that the raid provided crucial intelligence on AQAP’s operations in Yemen, and that the civilians killed “appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact,” according to a Feb. 1 statement.
While the fight against AQAP is not as well-known as the operations against the Islamic State, the U.S. still considers the group a danger. The terrorist group reportedly has planned multiple attacks against the U.S., including attempts to blow up U.S. airliners.
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