U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaida leader

The U.S. Central Command said that the senior al-Qaida leader was killed in Yemen’s Shabwah governorate by a June 16 U.S. airstrike.

Russia's bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2015

The command said al Awlaqi was killed in the airstrike along with two of his group’s associates.

“Al Awlaqi was a senior leader responsible for planning and conducting terrorist attacks against civilians.

“He had significant influence throughout al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s terrorist stronghold.

“He had ties and access to the group’s other senior leaders, and was implicated in planning and leading efforts to exacerbate instability in southern Yemen.

“In coordination with the government of Yemen, U.S. forces are conducting a series of sustained counterterrorism operations in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

“This is to degrade the group’s ability to hold territory and coordinate external terror attacks.

“Senior leaders from the terrorist group seek safe haven in places like Shabwah governorate to plot attacks against the U.S., its interests, and its friends and allies across the world.”

Al Awlaqi’s death removes a trusted and experienced terrorist leader from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula’s ranks, the command said.

In recent years, the terrorist group has taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Yemen to plot, direct and inspire terror attacks against the U.S., its citizens and allies around the world.

The group and its predecessors attacked the U.S. Embassy-Sanaa in 2008 and attempted to down Northwest Airlines 253 on Christmas Day in 2009.

The statement added that the group conspired to send explosive-laden parcels to Chicago in 2010.

The group has also used its English-language magazine, Inspire, to encourage attacks against the West, and has been linked to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the command said.

It said the group was also linked to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and other lone-wolf attacks in the U.S. and Europe.

“Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a formidable terror group that remains committed and capable of attacking U.S. citizens and the homeland.

“The Yemeni leadership is working with Arab allies to remove this terrorist group from its governorates.”

According to the statement, U.S. forces conducted this strike with the full support of the government of Yemen.

It added that in conjunction with its Arab allies, the U.S. would continue to support their efforts and fight terrorist organisations like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

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