The strike that killed Al-Raimi was preceded by two suspected US drone strikes in neighboring Marib governorate
Exclusive: Local sources confirm the killing of Qassim Al-Raimi by US strike in Al-Baydha
Qassim Al-Raimi, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in a US drone strike last week in the central governorate of Al-Baydha, a source familiar with AQAP’s operations inside Yemen and a local security source confirmed to Almasdar Online.
The strike also killed another senior AQAP leader, Abu Al-Baraa Al-Ibby. The two men were traveling together in a car in Yakla area of Al-Baydha when the US strike directly struck the vehicle. According to the sources, the vehicle and their bodies were charred, but no pictures of the scene have been leaked because AQAP militants have closed off the area to local media and activists.
Local residents confirmed to Almasdar Online the occurrence of a drone strike on a check point belonging to AQAP-affiliated gunmen on Jan. 29 in the village of Al-Hosson Al-Mashrif. The village is in Yakla area of Al-Baydha, within the territory of the Qaifa tribe in the Wadi Al-Rabi district.
The strike that killed Al-Raimi in Qaifa was preceded by two other presumed US strikes during the past week in neighboring Marib governorate. The first, on Jan. 25 at 11 a.m., targeted a house in the Joe Al-Naseem area of Marib's Wadi district (also known as Wadi Abida), killing an individual, whose identity remains unknown.
On Jan. 27, a second strike occurred in the Al-Hazmah area of the Wadi district. According to a source living in the area, the raid destroyed a house that was rented to an individual named Abdullah Al-Adani, leaving behind his charred body. According to eyewitnesses who saw the body after the raid, after about three hours a man came and took Al-Adani’s body in his car and left. The individual, according to the local source, is known to be connected to AQAP.
The US State Department has declined to comment on the reports of Al-Raimi’s death. Al-Raimi had been serving as leader of AQAP since 2015, when his predecessor, Nasir Al-Wuhayshi, was similarly killed by US drone strike.
AQAP has maintained a presence in Yakla area of Al-Baydha throughout the conflict. American special forces launched a controversial ground operation in Yakla in January 2017. The raid was purportedly aimed at capturing or killing Al-Raimi, but he was unharmed and the US forces killed dozens of civilians, including an American child.