Recording released after raid says Trump "received a painful slap across his face"
The raid in Yemen was targeting a top al Qaeda boss, senior US military official says
Days after a raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen led to the first US military combat death under Donald Trump, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released an audio message taunting the new American President.
In an 11-minute recording, AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi condemned the January 29 raid, saying, “The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face.”
The message was released online Saturday and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the recording, Rimi also claimed “dozens of Americans were killed and wounded,” a number starkly at odds with the US account, which reported the death of one Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens. Three additional SEALs also were wounded.
Rimi acknowledged the deaths of 14 men and 11 women and children in the raid, a joint counterterrorism effort between the United States and United Arab Emirates.
A senior US military official told CNN on Monday that Rimi was a target of the operation. The recording was released after last week’s raid.
Reprieve, a London-based nongovernmental organization, and a Sanaa-based human rights worker told CNN that at least 23 civilians were killed in the attack.
“When the Americans escaped, they dragged their killed and wounded, and they found no other alternative but to destroy their own planes so that it would not be proof of their scandal,” Rimi said.
The senior US military official told CNN on Monday that intelligence collection wasn’t the only objective of the Yemen raid but that it had also targeted Rimi.