(Newsroom America) -- The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering rewards totaling up to $45 million for information leading to the locations of eight key leaders of the Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorist organization.
The Department has authorized rewards of up to $10 million for information leading to the location of Nasir al-Wahishi and up to $5 million each for information leading to the locations of Qasim al-Rimi, Othman al-Ghamdi, Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri, Shawki Ali Ahmed Al-Badani, Jalal Bala’idi, Ibrahim al-Rubaysh, and Ibrahim al-Banna.
AQAP was formed in January 2009 by Yemeni and Saudi terrorists under the leadership of Nasir al-Wahishi, who had headed AQAP’s predecessor group Al-Qa’ida in Yemen.
AQAP has launched numerous high-profile terrorist attacks against the Yemeni Government, and U.S. and other foreign interests. In March 2009, an AQAP suicide bomber killed four South Korean tourists and their Yemeni guide.
A few months later, AQAP dispatched Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate an explosive device aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over the continental United States on December 25, 2009.
In October 2010, AQAP claimed responsibility for a foiled plot to send explosive-laden packages to the United States via cargo plane. To spread its extremist propaganda, AQAP launched an English-language magazine called Inspire in 2010 and the Arabic-language al-Madad News Agency in 2011.
AQAP, operating under the alias Ansar al-Sharia, carried out a May 2012 suicide bombing in Sana’a that killed more than 100 people. In 2013, more than 20 U.S. embassies were temporarily closed in response to a threat associated with AQAP.
On January 19, 2010, the Secretary of State designated AQAP as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Nasir al-Wahishi is AQAP’s top leader and is responsible for approving AQAP targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources, and directing AQAP operatives to conduct attacks. In 2013, Al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri named him as his deputy.
Qasim al-Rimi is a senior AQAP military commander who has played an important role in recruiting AQAP operatives.
Othman al-Ghamdi has helped raise funds and stockpile weapons for the group.
Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri is AQAP’s primary bomb maker who gained notoriety for recruiting his younger brother for a failed suicide bomb attack against Saudi Prince Muhammed bin Nayif in August 2009.
Shawki Ali Ahmed Al-Badani is an AQAP leader and operative who played a key role in a plan for a major attack that led the United States to close more than 20 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and Africa in the summer of 2013.
Jalal Bala’idi is an AQAP regional emir who was involved in 2013 with planning bomb attacks on various Western diplomatic facilities and personnel.
Ibrahim al-Rubaysh is a senior AQAP Sharia official and advisor who provides the justification for the group’s attacks and participates in attack planning.
Ibrahim al-Banna is a founding member of AQAP and has served as the group’s chief of security.