Qasim al-Raymi

Abu Hureira Qasm al-Rimi
Born 5 June 1978
Nationality Yemeni
Other names Qassim al Rimi
Known for Emir of AQAP
Religion Islam (Salafism)

Military career



Years of service 1990's–present
Rank Emir of AQAP

Yemen Insurgency

Yemeni Civil War

Qasim al-Raymi (Arabic: قاسم الريمي) is the current emir of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[1][2][3] 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 June 12, 2015.[4]

Early life, Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in Yemen

al-Raymi was born on 5 June 1978 in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a. 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.[5][6]

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.[7][8]

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 Sanaa 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.[7]

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.[9][10][11]

Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi was an AQAP field commander, Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri was the Deputy of AQAP and Nasir al-Wuhayshi the former Emir of AQAP.[7][12][13]

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.[14][15] 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."[16][17] They reported he rented the house where the operation was planned and he "monitored the US embassy".

On 11 May 2010, the U.S State Department listed al-Raymi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and announced a reward of $5 million for any information leading to his capture or death.[6][18]

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.[19] Ali bin Ali Douha and two other militants were reported to have been killed during the raid.

Abu al-Rimi was the target of a raid on al-Qaeda camps in Yemen on 17 December 2009, which reportedly was carried out by US cruise missiles.[20][21] He was not reported killed.

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.[22][23] Of the eight men thought to be in the two cars, six are thought to have been killed in the strike.[24]

Following reports of his death Al Rimi was described as the military commander for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[22][23] He is reported to have "orchestrated" the 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.[25]

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.[26]

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.[7]

On July 9, 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].".[8]


  1. "AQAP confirms death of senior leader". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  2. "2 tourists dead in attack in Yemen". International Herald Tribune. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  3. Ahmed Al Haj (18 January 2008). "2 tourists killed in Yemen convoy attack". USA Today. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010.
  4. Al Qaeda's second in command killed in Yemen strike; successor named, Jethro Mullen, CNN, June 16, 2015
  5. "Profile: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". BBC. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Qasim al-Rimi". Rewards for Justice. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Profile: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". BBC. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  8. 1 2 "New AQAP leader renews allegiance to the 'beloved father,' Ayman al Zawahiri". The Long War Journal. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. "Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video". Agence France Presse. 2009-01-25. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-26. mirror
  10. M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan (2009-01-27). "Kingdom re-arrests ex-Gitmo inmates". Arab News. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  11. YouTube. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  12. "Saudi Al-Qaeda Leader Outlines New Strategy and Tactics of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula". Jamestown Foundation. 2009-04-16. Archived from the original on 2009-09-06.
  13. "Al-Qaeda Leaders in the Arabian Peninsula Speak Out" (PDF). Jamestown Foundation. 2009-01-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  14. "Saudi Arabia's 85 Most Wanted". Intelwire. 2009-02-05. Archived from the original on 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  15. "Kingdom unveils list of 85 wanted militants abroad". Arab News. 2009-02-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-10.
  16. Donna Abu-Nasr (2009-02-07). "Saudi suspects seeking to revive al-Qaida". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  17. "Saudi suspects seeking to revive al-Qaida". Boston Herald. 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2011-12-17. 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." mirror
  18. "Designations of AQAP Leaders Qasim al-Rimi and Nayif al-Qahtani". U.S Department of State. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  19. Khaled Al-Mahdi (2007-08-09). "Yemen Forces Kill Al-Qaeda Mastermind". Arab News. Archived from the original on 2010-03-19.
  20. ABC News. "Cruise Missiles Strike Yemen - ABC News". ABC News. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  21. 1 2 "Yemen: Al Qaeda Military Chief Killed in Yemen Airstrike". Fox News. 2010-01-15. Archived from the original on 2010-01-15.
  22. 1 2 James Gordon Meek (2010-01-15). "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 2010-01-15.
  23. Reuters Editorial (15 January 2010). "Six al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen air strike". Reuters. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  24. "Loading". 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  25. "Al Qaeda: We're sorry about Yemen hospital attack". CNN. 2013-12-22. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
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