A raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen on Jan. 29 failed its primary objective of capturing or killing Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, military officials told NBC News. The raid killed one U.S. Navy SEAL, 14 al Qaeda fighters, and a number of civilians, including an 8-year-old girl. But al-Rimi is reportedly still alive and releasing audio messages mocking Trump. “The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” al-Rimi said in a message that military officials said was authentic.
The officials said it was unclear whether al-Rimi had been at the compound when it was raided. The Trump administration has declared the raid “a successful operation by all standards,” despite reports from military officials who told Reuters that the raid was ordered without sufficient intelligence, preparation, or group support. Military officials also told NBC News that the White House had agreed to the raid because they decided al-Rimi’s capture would be worth the operation’s risk.