Last week’s raid in Yemen that left one Navy SEAL dead had a secret objective that has bow been confirmed. Reports say that the target of the operation was Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Though the SEAL team was able to capture a plethora of intelligence and kill 14 Al Qaeda fighters, al-Rimi was not captured, leaving the main target on the loose.
Qassim al-Rimi is said to be the third most dangerous terrorist in the world. He was officially placed on the United States’ most wanted terrorist list when he became the leader of AQAP in 2015 following the death of former AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi. The State Department noted in 2010 when he was first designated a terrorist that al-Rimi “has played an important role in recruiting the current generation of militants making up the Yemen-based AQAP.”
Al-Rimi was trained by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1990’s and was imprisoned for terror activity in 2005. In 2006 he managed to escape alongside al-Wuhayshi and the two worked together to rebuild the terror group in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, ultimately forming the AQAP. Al-Rimi has been falsely reported as dead multiple times.
It has not been said how al-Rimi managed to escape being caught or killed during the raid. It is unclear whether he escaped or was not on the complex while the commandos landed, but it has been confirmed that he is still alive and somewhere in Yemen.
On Sunday, al-Rimi released an audio recording of himself speaking about the raid.
“The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” al-Rimi said.
The Navy SEAL that lost his list was identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens. Following his death, President Trump made an unannounced trip to attend the dignified transfer of Owen’s remains. Owens was the first service member to die in combat during Trump’s presidency.