Five years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, taken by surprise at his fortified refuge in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by Navy SEAL commandos — this is the official version — and two years after the proclamation of a “caliphate” by its Islamic State rivals in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda remains an active and widespread organization, though it has suffered setbacks and has seen many of its leaders killed or captured.
Its attacks in Europe and Africa and its strength in Yemen and Syria confirm that the organization, able in 2001 to inflict the most devastating attack ever on U.S. soil, is still dangerous despite having lost one advantage to ISIS: the ability to attract new militants.
Born in January 2009, the Yemeni branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with its tens of thousands of fighters is undoubtedly the most solid in the organization. AQAP has exploited the conflict between the Yemeni government and the Houthi Shiite rebels to expand its control in the south of the country. Led by Qasim al Raymi, the Yemen branch in January 2015 also claimed responsibility for the attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.