Homeland Security

U.S. Offers $10 Million for AQAP Leader Who Urged Westerners to Emulate Omar Mateen

AQAP leader Qasim al-Raymi (Al-Malahem Media)

The U.S. doubled the price on the head of the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who has been encouraging Muslims in the West to wage jihad in their home countries.

The State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program announced today that the reward for information leading to the identification, location, arrest, and/or conviction of Qasim al-Raymi, the 44-year-old AQAP emir, has been increased from $5 million to $10 million.

Al-Raymi, who became AQAP leader in June 2015, is linked to the September 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a and the December 2009 attempted takedown of an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight by “underwear bomber” Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab.

In 2010, he was added to designated terrorist lists by the U.S. and the United Nations.

In a May 2017 video, which began with images of the Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev brothers followed by a collage of various lone jihadists including Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, al-Raymi told would-be Western jihadists, “Don’t complicate matters, take it easy and simple, the same as our brother Omar Mateen did, he took an AK-47 and headed toward their gatherings and attacked them.” Mateen used a SIG MCX semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun.

Al-Raymi’s five-minute lecture, “A Lone Mujahid or an Army by Itself,” emphasized that the lone jihadist should view himself as a wing of their army and addresses “the patient one living in the Western countries — the lands of kuffar [disbelievers].”

“We do not view you as an individual — even though it is referred to as individual jihad,” he said. “We rather view you as a group, a brigade, or even an army in itself. A single operation that you execute, we wish we had an army that would carry it out. However, you are that army and it is important to view yourself from this angle, that you are part of this Ummah [Muslim community], a part of this body.”

“And you are situated in a place where you can harm our enemy. And so it is upon you to carry out that role.”

Al-Raymi added that “an American Muslim is the same as a Yemeni Muslim and a Yemeni Muslim is the same as an Australian Muslim.”

“We do not believe in nationalism, we believe in Islam,” he said.

In a January video, al-Raymi griped about wives spilling their jihadist husbands’ secrets and issued a blanket ban on cell phones.

“One among the spies says, and this has been revealed to me by the brothers in the intelligence department… he says that the brothers are an open book,” the at-times exasperated Yemeni terror emir added, stressing that “conveying against your brothers is considered treachery.”

The State Department also announced a reward of up to $5 million for Khalid al-Batarfi, a Saudi-born senior AQAP member who fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan and joined al-Qaeda forces in Yemen in 2010.

Al-Batarfi appeared in a January video threatening the United States and Jews. That same month, the U.S. placed him on the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list.