Written By: Observer Staff
Article Date: Oct 22, 2012 - 7:13:53 PM
The second man in Yemen’s al-Qaeda network posted an audio recording to deny earlier news about his death, threatening a war of “attrition”, a long and wearing battle, against the U.S.-backed Yemeni army.
In an 11-minute audio recording posted October 21 on the group’s media platforms, Saeed al-Shihri said the reason why Yemeni government announced his death was to cover the killing of innocent and defenseless Yemeni civillians who were killed by U.S. drone attacks.
The Defense Ministry announced on September 10 that it killed Saeed al-Shihri, deputy leader of the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in a “qualitative operation” believed to have been conducted by a U.S. drone attack. The September announcement about Shihri’s death was the third “false alarm” of its kind.
In the recording, Shihri said the group had to retreat from strongholds in Abyan and Shabwa provinces due to the severe impact of war on the group. “America and its agents from the apostasy army and some mercenaries” al-Shihri said, “had besieged the Mujahedeen and ordinary Muslims, forcing Mujahedeen to withdraw to protect and preserve the blood of Muslims and their property.”
The Yemeni army, backed by a U.S. drone campaign, had forced al-Qaeda to flee the area the group had governed for a year last June.
“The war between right and wrong,” al-Shihri said, “and between Ansar al-Sharia [supporters of Islamic law] and the supporters of unjust democracy will continue, and guerrilla tactics and attrition will go on.”
Throughout the recording, al-Shihri criticized the U.S. drone campaign against “Muslims”, generating already anti-American sentiment as drones have missed suspected al-Qaeda targets and instead killed civilians on multiple occasions.
The drone campaign, publicly hailed by President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi as having zero margin of error, had killed suspected al-Qaeda members and also killed civilians.
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