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In a statement late Thursday, President Trump said he ordered the counterterrorism operation in Yemen "that successfully eliminated" the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
U.S. Central Command says the soldiers were conducting a raid against a local al-Qaida affiliate in the region. A former Yemeni minister tells NPR his granddaughter was also killed in the raid.
Belmokhtar, a leader of al-Qaida's arm in North Africa, masterminded the 2013 terrorist attack on an Algerian gas plant in which 38 foreign hostages were killed.