The leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen says his forces have often fought alongside US- and Saudi-backed militia and supporters of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi against the Yemeni army and the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Qasim al-Rimi, the ringleader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), made the remarks to the terrorist group’s media arm al-Malahem from an undisclosed location in war-torn Yemen on Sunday, adding that his militants had teamed up with an array of other “factions,” including Salafist groups and the “Muslim Brotherhood,” who are both key militias on Hadi’s side.
The AQAP perceived as the most active branch of the al-Qaeda terrorist group and has been considered by the Pentagon as the most dangerous offshoot of the global terror network. Washington has already offered a $5million prize for al-Rimi’s capture. The militia fighting for Hadi, who initially fled the country to Riyadh, managed to capture Aden in July 2015 with the military help of the Saudi regime after it fell to the Houthis in September 2014. Since then, Hadi, along with his supporters and militiamen, has turned the port city into their base, calling it the country’s temporary capital, and have gone hand-in-hand with the Saudi war machine against his own people. The brutal Saudi aggression has so far claimed the lives of more than 12,000 Yemenis.
The AQAP has taken advantage of nearly two years of the Saudi military campaign and the resulting chaos and breakdown of security in Yemen to tighten its grip on the southern and southeastern parts of the Arab country. Washington also carries out drone airstrikes in Yemen alongside the Saudi military aggression against the impoverished conflict-ridden country, claiming to be targeting AQAP terrorists; however, local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.