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December 3, 2021

As core weakens, al Qaeda affiliates are top terror threat, State Dept report says

While the killings of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives have weakened the terror network, the rise of groups affiliated al Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa presents a serious threat to U.S. security, the State Department’s annual terrorism report warns, CNN informs.“As al-Qaida’s core has gotten weaker, we have seen the rise of affiliated groups around the world. Among these al-Qaida affiliates, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) represents a particularly serious threat,” the survey of terrorism worldwide warned.The overview of terrorism and terrorist groups around the world found that bin Laden’s death last year in a raid on his compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy Seals, coupled with the killing of top al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan, “puts the network on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse.” The report says the June death of Iyas Kashmiri and the August killing of Atiya Abdul Rahman, al Qaeda’s second-in-command after bin Laden’s death, are among the top blows dealt to the organization in Pakistan.But it warns that “despite blows in western Pakistan, al-Qaida, its affiliates, and its adherents remain adaptable. They have shown resilience; retain the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks; and, thus, constitute an enduring and serious threat to our national security.” The report says that as a result of instability stemming from the Arab Spring uprisings, “the Near East region remained one of the most active in terms of terrorist activity in 2011.”“Many countries across the region experienced increased instability as a result of the events of the Arab Awakening, and some terrorists attempted to exploit this situation,” it warned. “Multiple terrorist organizations displayed the capability and intent to strike at targets across the region and to garner influence in states undergoing political transitions.”Loose munitions from Libyan stocks and the threat of terrorists obtaining man-portable air defense systems (ManPADS) posed a “significant risk to regional security and civil aviation,” the report warned.It singled out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula as “representing a particularly serious threat,” warning that by the end of last year, the group “had taken control of territory in southern Yemen and was exploiting unrest in that country to advance plots against regional and Western interests.” AQAP claimed responsibility for the attempted “underwear bomb” attack on a Detroit-bound passenger airliner in 2009.

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