U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday al-Qaeda has been “broken apart” but its regional offshoots still remain a threat after the United States closed its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa.
Addressing a news conference in Washington, Obama said that the United States wanted to strengthen individual countries’ capacity to target al-Qaeda militants, AFP reported.
“This tightly organized and relatively centralized al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11 has been broken apart. And it is very weak and does not have a lot of operational capacity,” Obama said.
But the U.S. president highlighted the threats of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot of the of the terror network that is active in Yemen.
“We still have these regional organizations like AQAP that can pose a threat,” Obama said.
Regional militants can “drive, potentially, a truck bomb into an embassy wall and can kill some people,” he added.
“That requires us, then, to make sure that we have a strategy that is strengthening those partners so that they’ve got their own capacity to deal with what are potentially manageable, regional threats if these countries are a little bit stronger,” he said.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of two men, a Chadian and a Yemeni, suspected of plotting suicide attacks.
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