Leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Khalid Batarfi was arrested several months ago, a United Nations (UN) report revealed.
The report stated that Batarfi’s arrested led to the killing of his deputy, Saad Atef Al-Awlaki, during an operation in Ghayda City, Al-Mahrah province in October of last year.
The report, filed with the Security Council by a UN monitoring team specializing in extremist groups, is the first official confirmation of Batarfi’s arrest following unverified reports.
The report did not reveal Batarfi’s whereabouts or expose any further details. However, the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors the online activity of jihadist organizations, cited unconfirmed reports in October that Batarfi had been arrested by Yemeni security forces and then handed to Saudi Arabia.
SITE disclosed that Batarfi, who was designated a global terrorist by the US State Department in 2018, was appointed AQAP’s leader in February 2020, replacing Qasim Al-Raymi after he was killed in a US attack in Yemen.
Al-Raymi succeeded Nasir Al-Wuhayshi, who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in June 2015.