Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the identification or location of Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) senior regional leader Khalid Saeed al-Batarfi, and is increasing from $5 million to up to $10 million its reward for information leading to the identification, location, arrest, and or conviction of the leader of AQAP Qasim al-Rimi.
Qasim al-Rimi was named emir of AQAP in June 2015. The following month, he swore allegiance to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawairi and called for renewed attacks against the United States. Born in Yemen in 1978, he trained terrorists at an al-Qa’ida camp in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Al-Rimi subsequently returned to Yemen and became an AQAP military commander. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2005 after being convicted in Yemen of plotting to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, and escaped from a Yemeni prison in 2006. Al-Rimi is linked to the September 2008 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a that left 10 Yemeni guards, four civilians, and six terrorists dead, and the December 2009 attempted suicide bombing by “underwear bomber” Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab aboard a U.S.-bound airliner. The government of Saudi Arabia placed al-Rimi on its list of most wanted terrorist suspects on February 3, 2009. In May 2010, the Department of State designated al-Rimi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. The designation blocks al-Rimi’s property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction and generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with him. In May 2010, al-Rimi was added to the United Nations (UN) 1267 Sanctions Committee’s Consolidated List of individuals associated with al Qa’ida/ISIL.
In a May 7, 2017 video, he urged supporters living in Western countries to conduct “easy and simple” attacks and praised Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a June 2016 mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando Florida.
Khalid al-Batarfi is a senior member of AQAP in Yemen’s Hadramaut Governorate and a former member of AQAP’s shura council. Born in Saudi Arabia, in 1999 he traveled to Afghanistan, where he trained at al-Qa’ida’s al-Farouq camp. In 2001, he fought alongside the Taliban against U.S. forces and the Northern Alliance. In 2010, al-Batarfi joined AQAP in Yemen, led AQAP fighters in taking over Yemen’s Abyan Province, and was named AQAP’s emir of Abyan. Following the death of AQAP leader Nasir Al-Wuhayshi in a June 2016 U.S. military strike, he issued a statement warning that al-Qa’ida would destroy the U.S. economy and attack other U.S. interests. After the United States announced that it would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, al-Batarfi appeared in an AQAP video in January 2018 threatening the United States and Jews. On January 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Batarfi as an SDGT under E.O. 13224.
The Rewards for Justice program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $145 million to more than 90 people who provided actionable information that helped bring terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.