The leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch is believed to have been killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year.
The New York Times said three current or former U.S. officials “expressed confidence” that Qasim al-Raymi, the emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in Yemen, although there was no official confirmation.
U.S. forces had been tracking al-Raymi for months, and there was a $10 million price on his head.
It is unclear whether the strike was carried out by the U.S. military or the CIA. Spokespersons for U.S. Central Command, the National Security Council and the CIA declined to comment.
For more than five years, al-Raymi, a native of Yemen, had eluded U.S. forces as he led what experts sometimes refer to as al-Qaeda’s “most dangerous franchise.” If confirmed, his death would be “very significant,” said Mick Mulroy, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East until late last year.
SOURCE: The New York Times