Qasim al-Raymi (Updated)
The BBC and other news outlets are reporting that Qasim al-Raymi has been killed in an air strike today. If true – and this is not the first time that al-Raymi has been reported to have been killed – this would be a major, although not necessarily debilitating blow to AQAP. I have long claimed that al-Raymi is the single most dangerous individual in the organization.
Waq al-waq will attempt to post up-dates throughout the day, but there are a number of other things on the docket. But again, treat with caution the news of al-Raymi’s death until it is confirmed.
Update: Here are two Arabic reports, as usual with this type of breaking news, the Mareb Press story is building off of the 26th of September story. According to what is known at this time, it seems as though the strike took place somewhere between Sa’dah and al-Jawf near the region of al-Buq’a.
Two cars carrying al-Qaeda militants were reportedly destroyed in the attack. The Yemeni press is reporting that in addition to Qasim al-Raymi, the strike also killed ‘Aidh al-Shabwani (the target of the July 30 Battle of Marib), as well as Salih al-Tays.
Warning, Pure speculation: (if this is sounding familiar it should, it sounds very much like the drone strike in November 2002 – that time it was reported that a bomb the militants were carrying went off before someone in the US administration leaked that the US was behind the strike. Hopefully the US learned from that mistake of hubris.) I wrote about the possibility of something like this happening a while ago. And while I readily admit that is only speculation to suggest that this was a US drone strike: if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck – well you know the rest.
Update II: A quick scan through the forums does not reveal much, but then I wouldn’t expect anything so soon except breathless rumors reported in the open forums. It is much too early for an official statement. We will have to wait.