Abdullah al-Maliki was a Yemen-based operative of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He died in a May 2020 CIA airstrike in Yemen. According to an unnamed U.S. official, Maliki was an al-Qaeda communications specialist in AQAP’s command structure who was globally distributing al-Qaeda’s messages. U.S. officials credited Maliki’s death with degrading al-Qaeda’s capabilities in Yemen.Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, “F.B.I. Finds Links Between Pensacola Gunman and Al Qaeda,” New York Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/politics/justice-department-al-qaeda-florida-naval-base-shooting.html; “Attorney General William P. Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray Announce Significant Developments in the Investigation of the Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting,” U.S. Department of Justice, May 18, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-and-fbi-director-christopher-wray-announce-significant.
On December 6, 2019, Saudi military officer Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani killed three people and wounded eight others in an attack a U.S. military base in Florida where he was training.Frances Robles, Eric Schmitt, Patricia Mazzei, and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, “Before Florida Shooting, Gunman Showed Off Videos of Mass Attacks,” New York Times, December 7, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/07/us/pensacola-florida-shooting-saudi.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article. AQAP claimed responsibility for the attack in February 2020.“Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula claims December shooting at Florida naval base,” Reuters, February 2, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-florida-shooting-alqaeda/al-qaeda-in-arabian-peninsula-claims-december-shooting-at-florida-naval-base-idUSKBN1ZW0PH. Prior to the attack, Alshamrani was reportedly communicating with Maliki. According to the FBI, Maliki released AQAP’s claim of responsibility.“FBI Director Christopher Wray’s Remarks at Press Conference Regarding Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting Investigation,” FBI, May 18, 2020, https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-director-christopher-wrays-remarks-at-press-conference-regarding-naval-air-station-pensacola-shooting-investigation. Information found on Alshamrani’s phone provided U.S. authorities with intelligence on Maliki, which led to Maliki’s death in a CIA drone strike in Yemen in May 2020.Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, “F.B.I. Finds Links Between Pensacola Gunman and Al Qaeda,” New York Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/18/us/politics/justice-department-al-qaeda-florida-naval-base-shooting.html.