Khalid ben Omar Batarfi, the leader of Al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula (AQAS), was arrested in eastern Yemen last October. This is according to a report from the United Nations released on Thursday.
According to the report, addressed to the UN Security Council, Khalid ben Omar Batarfi was “arrested in October in operation in Al Ghaydah (Al Mahrah province), during which second-in-command Saad Atef al-Awlaki was also killed”.
Khalid ben took charge of the organization in February 2020 after its previous leader, Kassim al-Rimi, was killed in a US drone attack in Yemen.
Rumors for months
It is the first time that the arrest of Khalid ben Omar Batarfi has been officially confirmed, although rumors to that effect have been circulating in recent months. The document does not state who captured Batarfi, nor what has become of him since then.
‘In addition to the losses that AQAS suffered at the top, the organization also saw erosion in the rest of its ranks as a result of disagreement and desertion,’ the UN report continues. At the same time, there are warnings that the jihadist group is still a “constant threat”.