It is a blow to the Al Qaeda terrorist nebula. Its leader in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqpa), Khalid Batarfi, was arrested in October 2020 in Yemen, where this jihadist group considered particularly dangerous by the United States is well established, indicates a report from the United Nations ( UN) released on Thursday.
According to this report addressed to the UN Security Council, Khalid Batarfi, known as Abu Miqdad el-Kindi, “was arrested in October during an operation in Gheïda (Mahra province), which also resulted in the death of second in command, Saad Atef el-Aoulaqi ”. The document does not specify by whom Batarfi was captured, nor what became of him.
This is the first official confirmation of this arrest, mentioned in October in “unconfirmed information” by investigators of the SITE Intelligence Group, according to which this capture was carried out by the Yemeni security forces.
Batarfi, who is said to be in his 40s, took over as head of Aqpa in February 2020 after the death of former group leader Qassem al-Rimi, killed in a US airstrike in Yemen. Created in 2009, Aqpa is considered by the United States as the most dangerous branch of the jihadist network. It took advantage of the chaos caused by the ongoing war since 2014 in Yemen between rebels and power to strengthen its hold in the south and south-east of the country. The organization has carried out attacks in Yemen in recent years against both Houthi rebels and government forces.
At the origin of the attack against Charlie Hebdo
Aqpa also claimed responsibility for attacks in the United States and Europe, in particular that of the headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, in 2015, which left 12 dead, and a shooting that killed three, in 2019, at an American naval air base in Florida.
Since 2017, the United States has stepped up attacks against this group. According to experts, the network has lost its influence today. “In addition to the losses caused within his command, Aqpa suffered an erosion among its ranks, due to dissensions and desertions, led mainly by one of the former lieutenants of Batarfi”, indicates the UN. The document warns, however, against “the constant threat” that continues to pose this jihadist group in Yemen.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the end of “support” and “arms sales” for the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, which has for years carried out offensive operations against the Houthi rebels. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions more have been displaced in the war which has caused, according to the UN, the world’s most serious humanitarian disaster.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr