Al-Qaeda's Yemen chief mocks Trump for botched military raid

Al-Qaeda's Yemen chief mocks Trump for botched military raid
Senior AQAP leader taunts White house amid ongoing fallout in the US over the failures of the Trump administration's first overseas anti-terror raid.
2 min read
08 February, 2017
Qasim al-Rimi described Donald Trump as the 'White House's new fool' [Screenshot]
The leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen has described US President Donald Trump as the "White House's new fool" in a newly released audio recording in which he mocks the US for a recent military operation against his group.

The operation resulted in the deaths of one US Navy SEAL, 14 al-Qaeda fighters and several civilians, including an eight-year-old girl.

"The White House's new fool has received a painful blow at your hands in his first outing on your land," Yemeni al-Qaeda leader Qasim al-Rimi said in the recording released on Sunday.

The militant leader, who landed on the US' most wanted list in 2015, claimed that the January 29 raid resulted in 35 death, including 'scores' of US soldiers and 11 women and children.

Since the military operation, conflicting reports about the raid's aim and outcome have emerged from the US.

According to military and intelligence officials cited by NBC News, al-Rimi himself was the target of the attack, which was the first anti-terror raid carried out by the Trump administration.

The Pentagon's spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, has however disputed that al-Rimi was the target.

"I can tell you it's not true," Davis said, adding that the US military "never had any hope, intention or plan" of killing or capturing the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] leader in the operation.

Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaqi was among
those killed in the US military raid [Twitter]

On Tuesday, Republican senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate's Armed Services Committee, called the raid a "failure" following a classified briefing on the operation earlier that day.

The White House, meanwhile, has attempted to paint a very different picture of its outcome.

"The raid that was conducted in Yemen was an intelligence gathering raid," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

"It was highly successful. It achieved the purpose it was going to get, save the loss of life that we suffered and the injuries that occurred."

Last week, the Pentagon pulled a video it had published that was meant to highlight the value of intelligence seized during the operation.

The video, which US special operations forces seized from a computer, showed a masked militant delivering a lessons on "How to Destroy The Cross" and demonstrating how to make explosives while standing before a whiteboard.

Despite its authenticity, the video was around a decade old and had been circulated online before.