The Slatest

Top al-Qaida Leader Taunts Trump After Escaping Capture in Botched Yemen Raid

Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Jan. 23.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The details of the botched special forces raid in Yemen continue to trickle after the White House deemed the mission that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and multiple civilians “a successful operation by all standards.” On Monday, NBC News reported that the real mission of Trump’s first covert counterterrorism operation was to capture or kill Qassim al-Rimi, the head of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The raid killed 14 al-Qaida operatives and, according to administration officials, yielded important intelligence, but it did not lead to the capture of al-Rimi, who is considered one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world. It is not known if al-Rimi was at the camp and managed to escape capture or whether he was possibly tipped off to the possible raid. In apparent response to the raid, over the weekend, al-Rimi released an audio recording that’s believed to be authentic taunting Donald Trump. “The White House’s new fool has received a painful blow at your hands in his first outing on your land,” he said in the recorded message to his followers.