|Abū Hurayrah Qasīm al-Rīmī|
5 June 1978 |
Nimr, As Salafiyah, Raymah, North Yemen
|Other names||Qassim al Rimi|
|Known for||Emir of AQAP|
|Years of service||1990's–present|
|Rank||Emir of AQAP|
Qasim al-Raymi (Arabic: قاسم الريمي born 5 June 1978) is the current emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Raymi is one of 23 men who escaped in the 3 February 2006 prison-break in Yemen, along with other notable al-Qaeda members. He next appears in connection to a July 2007 suicide bombing that killed eight Spanish tourists. In 2009, the Yemeni government accused him of being responsible for the running of an al-Qaeda training camp in Abyan province. After serving as AQAP's military commander, Al-Raymi was promoted to leader after the death of Nasir al-Wuhayshi on 12 June 2015.
Early life, Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in Yemen
al-Raymi was born on 5 June 1978 in Raymah, Yemen. He was a trainer at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan during the 1990s before returning to Yemen. In 2004, he was imprisoned for five years for being suspected in a series of embassy bombings in the capital.
After escaping from prison in 2006, al-Raymi, along with Nasir al-Wuhayshi, oversaw the formation of al-Qaeda in Yemen, which took in both new recruits and experienced Arab fighters returning from battlefields across Iraq and Afghanistan.
The group claimed responsibility for two suicide bomb attacks that killed six Western tourists before being linked to the assault on the US embassy in Sana'a in September 2008, in which militants detonated bombs and fired rocket-propelled grenades. Ten Yemeni guards and four civilians were killed, along with six assailants.
Founding of AQAP
In January 2009, al-Raymi, along with four other men, appeared in a video calling for the foundation of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a unification of both al-Qaeda's Yemen and Saudi Arabian branches. He was introduced as AQAP's military commander. The other men were identified as Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri and Nasir al-Wuhayshi.
Military commander of AQAP
Saudi and American wanted list
On 3 February 2009, Saudi security officials published a new list of Saudi most wanted terrorist suspects. The 68th individual found on the list was named "Muhammad Qasim Mehdi Reemy" or "Qassem Mohammed Mahdi Al-Rimi", with the aliases "Abu Hurayrah" and "Abu Ammar". Qassem Al-Rimi on the Saudi wanted list was one of two Yemenis on the list, and was said to be a "linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen, Saudi Arabia". According to the Associated Press he has "links to a plot targeting the U.S. ambassador in San'a." They reported he rented the house where the operation was planned and he "monitored the US embassy".
Reports of death
Al Rimi's death has been reported multiple times. He was reported to have died during a raid by Yemeni security officials on 9 August 2007. Ali bin Ali Douha and two other militants were reported to have been killed during the raid.
It was reported that he was killed in a 4 January 2010 raid by Yemeni security forces, though this was proven false. However, according to officials, a Yemeni air strike on two cars, one of which reportedly contained al-Rimi, was conducted on Friday, 15 January 2010. Al-Rimi was reported to be one of those killed. Of the eight men thought to be in the two cars, six are thought to have been killed in the strike.
Following reports of his death Al Rimi was described as the military commander for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He is reported to have "orchestrated" 25 December 2009 attempted suicide bombing of Nigerian Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab. Al-Rimi announced the creation of an "Aden-Abyan Army" to free the country of "crusaders and their apostate agents," in an Internet audio tape.
Apology for hospital attack
Following the 2013 attack on the Yemeni Defense Ministry, which resulted in the killing of numerous doctors and patients at a hospital present in the compound, al-Rimi released a video message apologizing, claiming that the team of attackers were directed not to assault the hospital in the attack, but that one had gone ahead and done so.
On 29 January 2017, al-Raymi was the supposed target of a military action undertaken by the United States known as the Yakla raid. The raid resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and of a number of civilians including a U.S. citizen. Shortly after the raid, on 5 February 2017, al-Raymi released an audiotape onto the internet referencing the raid. The fact that al-Raymi had been a main target of the raid had not been previously confirmed. In the audiotape, al-Raymi confirmed he is still alive and threatened U.S President Donald Trump.
Emir of AQAP
On 16 June 2015, following the death of former AQAP Emir and founder Nasir al-Wuhayshi, AQAP commander Khaled Batarfi confirmed al-Raymi had been elected by the group's leadership council to succeed Wuhayshi.
On 9 July, al-Raymi swore allegiance to al-Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri. He congratulated the recent successes of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front, and the gains made by Army of Conquest coalition in Syria. He called for renewed attacks against the United States, remarking "“All of you must direct and gather your arrows and swords against [America].". Reports say that in 28 June, an airstrike targeted the home of Qasim in Abyan Governorate, killing five people, including two family members of the targeted leader. Qasim survived the attack with only some wounds
A Yemeni individual held in Guantanamo, Ali Yahya Mahdi Al Raimi, faced allegations he was brother to a senior member of al Qaeda, named Qasim Yahya Mahdi Abd Al-Rimi or Qassem Yahya Mahdi Al Reemi. This brother was said to also be known as Abu Hurayrah, Doctor Hurayrah and Abu Hajer. He was said to have been a physical fitness instructor at al Qaeda's Al Farouq training camp, in Afghanistan.
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Qassem al-Reemi, 30, meanwhile, one of the few Yemenis on the list, has "links to a plot targeting the U.S. ambassador in San’a," the capital of Yemen. "He rented the house in which the plot for that operation was hatched," according to the documents. "He also monitored the U.S. Embassy."
- "Designations of AQAP Leaders Qasim al-Rimi and Nayif al-Qahtani". U.S Department of State. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- Khaled Al-Mahdi (9 August 2007). "Yemen Forces Kill Al-Qaeda Mastermind". Arab News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2010.
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- [dead link]
- "Yemen: Al Qaeda Military Chief Killed in Yemen Airstrike". Fox News. 15 January 2010. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010.
- James Gordon Meek (15 January 2010). "Yemeni airstrike kills six Al Qaeda; Qassim Al-Raymi, leader behind Christmas jet plot, may be dead". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010.
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- "#أبين : مقتل خمسة اشخاص في غارة على منزل قيادي في #القاعدة" [# Abyan: five people were killed in a raid on a leading house in the # rule] (in Arabic). Baghdad: Barakish. 28 June 2016. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
- "مصادر لـ24: إصابة زعيم القاعدة قاسم الريمي في غارة أمريكية بأبين" [Sources for 24: injury Qaeda leader Qasim al-Rimi in a US raid in Abyan] (in Arabic). 29 June 2016. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
وقال مصدر قبلي لـ24 إن زعيم القاعدة في اليمن قاسم الريمي أصيب في الغارة ونقل إلى جبال المراقشة في أبين لتلقي العلاج، مؤكداً أن اصابة الريمي خطيرة.