Washington- The leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch swore revenge after a U.S. raid on a compound last month killed several terrorists and some civilians.
Qasim al-Raymi, head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), accused the U.S. of killing civilians in the Jan. 29 raid in an 11-minute audio address.
He confirmed that the operation carried out by U.S. elite forces against al-Qaeda in Baida province killed a number of the group’s militants, including fugitive Arwa Baghdadi, her son Osama and her brother Anas Baghdadi.
He added: “Anas’ wife was injured as they were all at the stronghold of the organization in Yemen.”
He noted that the operation also resulted in the deaths of the wives of two members of the organization.
Al-Raymi, also known as Abu Hurayrah, who is wanted in many countries for being affiliated with al-Qaeda, sent an indirect message in the 11- minute audio to announce that he wasn’t killed in the raid.
He pointed out that a prominent figure in the organization, Abdelilah al-Dhahab, was not killed but the latter’s son had died.
An American Special Forces unit attacked the AQAP compound in Baida on Jan. 29, killing militants and possibly some civilians, according to U.S. officials.
A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a firefight and three American soldiers were wounded.
U.S. special operations forces had mounted the raid in the Yakla region of Baida against AQAP, which Washington viewed as the global terror network’s most dangerous branch.
On the AQAP side, 14 fighters, including women, were killed, according to the Pentagon.
Arwa Baghdadi, one of al-Qaeda’s members, had fled Saudi Arabia after a court convicted her on terror charges.
She escaped with her son Osama, her brother Anas, known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his Egyptian wife. They were all killed in the U.S. raid except for Anas’ wife, according to al-Raymi’s announcement.
Arwa had married suspected al-Qaeda member Yassin al-Barakati while she was detained in prison, and after getting divorced she married Salem al-Sharif who was mourned by the organization’s head in the audio.
She stood accused of joining al-Qaeda and of being involved with the “misguided group.” Arwa was bailed out of jail in 2012 and fled the next year.