The target of last week’s military raid in Yemen is not only still alive, but has released an audio recording mocking President Donald Trump.
Military and intelligence officials told NBC News on Monday that the goal of the Navy SEALS operation was to capture or kill Qassim al-Rimi, the head of al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. The raid claimed the lives of 14 Al Qaeda fighters, at least two dozen civilians, and US serviceman William Owens — but al-Rimi remains alive in Yemen, NBC News reported.
Al-Rimi released an audio recording on Sunday in which he referenced the raid and called Trump “the goat of the White House,” according to NBC News, who authenticated the tape with military sources.
“The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” he reportedly said.
According to Fox News, al-Rimi also identified by name 25 purported victims of the attack.
It wasn’t clear whether al-Rimi was at the scene of the raid, according to the report.
The report seemed to belie comments from White House spokesman Sean Spicer, who last week called the raid very, very well thought out and executed” and “a successful operation by all standards.” According to the report, the prospect of killing al-Rimi convinced US officials to carry out the mission.
However, the raid still may have sent a message to Al Qaeda, an NBC source said.
“We may have collected incredibly valuable intelligence that will lead to further disruptions and further counterterrorism activities down the road,” said Juan Zarate, an NBC analyst and national security adviser to George W. Bush.
Some critics of the raid have directed their ire toward Trump. Military officials told Reuters last week that Trump authorised the mission without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations. However, the White House has rejected that account, noting that plans for the strike began months ago, while Barack Obama was in office.
Read the full NBC News report here »
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