- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced a U.S. airstrike killed its leader and al Qaeda’s general manager Nasser al Wahayshi. AQAP added that military commander Qasim al Raymi will succeed Wahayshi as its leader in Yemen. Wahayshi’s death will probably not have a significant impact on AQAP’s operations in Yemen, where the group has capitalized on an anti-al Houthi momentum to expand. His death may have a short-term impact on al Qaeda global operations, though the strategy of attrition has not been effective against al Qaeda in the long term.
- The death of veteran al Qaeda operative Mokhtar Belmokhtar in Libya following U.S. airstrikes, if confirmed, would have significant ramifications for the attempts of local Islamist groups to coordinate their activities. U.S. F-15s bombed a reported meeting between Islamist leaders in Ajdabiya, Libya, killing a number of those present. Belmokhtar attended meetings in the past in Libya in which groups attempted to synchronize their efforts. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb issued a statement condemning the airstrike and offering condolences for those who were killed, but it did not eulogize Belmokhtar.
- Al Shabaab has increasingly focused its military operations in northern Kenya and is expanding into the area. The group may escalate attacks during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Kenyan reaction to the al Shabaab threat may inflame tensions with the Somali refugee population inside of Kenya. Al Shabaab most likely seeks to continue to gain influence within that population.