A counterterrorism operation killed one of the founding leaders of terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The White House confirmed a counterterrorism operation led by President Donald Trump successfully eliminated al-Qaeda cofounder Qasim al-Rimi in Yemen and a deputy to leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death,” a representative said in a statement. “We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm.”

According to White House intelligence, al-Rimi joined al-Qaeda back in the 1990s and worked in Afghanistan for Osama bin Laden, who took responsibility for a terrorist attack on New York City’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“[The Arabian Peninsula] (AQAP) committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces,” the representative said. “His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qaeda movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security.”

News spread about the Central Intelligence Agency targeting al-Rimi in a military style strike sometime in the past seven days. The U.S. government did not release a statement until Feb. 6.

The terrorist previously admitted his involvement in an Islamic terrorist attack against Naval Air Station Pensacola on Dec. 6. Three American sailors died and eight others suffered severe injuries from the attack according to The Daily Wire.

More key terrorists have also died, including Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani who commanded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and was killed in a drone strike the president authorized back in January.

The president previously authorized a deadly raid against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria during October 2019. The target died after detonating a suicide vest while trying to escape from U.S. forces.

One day later U.S. forces carried out a separate airstrike attack that killed al-Baghdadi’s potential successor, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir while he was “smuggled across northern Syria in the back of an oil tanker truck” according to The Daily Wire. 

The Trump administration eliminated Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, who repeatedly threatened to attack the United States and was widely believed to be next in line to take control of al-Qaeda.

It also is believed to have authorized a drone strike against Abdul Reza Shahlai from Iran’s Quds Force on the same day Soleimani died.

“The disclosure of a second mission indicated that the Trump administration was attempting to target a larger set of Iranian military and paramilitary leaders than was previously known,” according to The New York Times.

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