Washington: The United States had conducted a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen that successfully eliminated Qasim al-Raymi, a founder and the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and a deputy to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, President Donald Trump said in a White House statement. Also Read - Trump Ordered Killing of Iran's Quds Force Chief Qassim Soleimani to Protect US Personnel Abroad: White House

The operation was conducted at the direction of President Donald Trump, the statement read, adding that Raymi’s death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qaeda movement.

“It (Raymi’s death) brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security. The United States, our interests, and our allies are safer as a result of his death. We will continue to protect the American people by tracking down and eliminating terrorists who seek to do us harm”, the statement said further.

President Trump, in the statement also claimed that under the Al-Qaeda leader, AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and its forces.

In 2000s, Raymi had been linked to a series of attacks on Western interests.  He took over the leadership after his predecessor was killed by a US drone strike. With an aim of toppling US-backed governments and eliminating all Western influence, AQAP was formed in 2009 from two regional offshoots of Al-Qaeda in Yemen in Saudi Arabia.