Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula just captured an airport for their own personal use, according to multiple reports coming out of Yemen.
The Riyan Airport on the Gulf of Aden coast near Al Mukalla is serviced by two Yemeni commercial carriers, Felix Airways and Yemenia.
AQAP seized Al Mukalla, a seaport city of about 300,000 people, at the beginning of this month. They freed terrorists being held in a prison there.
The seizure of the airport comes after a drone strike killed AQAP Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, a former Guantanamo detainee who became an AQAP spiritual leader after being released to Saudi Arabia in 2006. Al-Rubaish was placed in the Saudis’ terrorist rehab program but escaped to Yemen.
AQAP issued a eulogy for al-Rubaish on Tuesday, saying he “died as a result of a cowardly Crusader strike which killed him with a number of his brothers Monday night.”
“On his path, the people of knowledge walk on and follow on his footsteps, and others should follow in his footsteps. And this is his blood and his body parts today shout and scream for the people of knowledge and da’wah to come to the fields of sacrifice and jihad,” the statement from the terror group said. “Come to the fields of education and da’wah, come to where the plants grow and raises the foundation and raises the edifices of the high deen. Come to where knowledge is pure and models are made for your Ummah.”
AQAP’s leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, is also the general manager of “core” al-Qaeda and has the ability to call terror attacks around the world.
“We have said, when it comes to our counterterrorism strategy, we continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and we have capabilities postured in the area to address them,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, not confirming the report of the AQAP mufti’s death. “As we’ve said, we will continue to take action to disrupt any imminent threat to the United States and our citizens.”