Donald Trump says U.S. operation killed Al-Qaida leader in Yemen (photos)

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that US forces have killed Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in an operation inside Yemen.

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Al-Rimi claimed responsibility for last year's deadly shooting at US Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, where a Saudi aviation trainee killed three US sailors.

Trump said the US and its allies are safer as a result of al-Rimi's killing [File: Yemeni interior ministry/AFP]
The AQAP has long been considered al-Qaeda's most dangerous affiliate for its attempts to carry out attacks on the US mainland. Trump said the US and its allies are safer as a result of his death.

We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm, Trump said on Thursday.

While Trump confirmed reports that al-Rimi had been killed, he did not say when the US operation was conducted or offer any details about how it was carried out. Al-Qaeda has not confirmed his death.

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Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Washington, DC, said the attack that killed the 41-year-old took place last month.

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