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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – one of the group’s most dangerous branches – has released an audio message by Ibrahim Al-Qusi, one of its senior officials, agitating for attacks against Western targets. The targets include the United States and France.
The recording was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, and begins by offering condolences to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) for the death of the franchise’s sharia committee head, Al-Hassan Al-Bulaidi.
Al-Qusi, who was previously detained at Guantanamo Bay, praised AQIM’s attacks on Western targets, according to MEMRI. He vowed to continue the jihad against the United States and France.
“Fear Allah with regard to your jihad! Fear Allah with regard to your front!” Al-Qusi stated. “You are the guards of the western gate. You protect the religion and the honor and you are the ones fighting the French and the Americans and those collaborators and traitors who follow them. You are exemplars of steadfastness and the masters of the mujahideen…”
He urged the continuation of the jihad, saying: “We will not let go of the West led by America until it stops supporting Israel and until it [the US] stops occupying the lands of the Muslims.”
Al-Qusi’s message is particularly troubling in the current climate, with the increasing risk of returning and homegrown jihadist terrorists operating in Europe and North America.
AQIM is currently active in more than 30 countries spanning four continents, a far larger reach than before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
By official estimates, AQAP’s strength ranges from 1,00 to over 3,000 fighters in the Arabian Peninsula. The group came into existence in 2009 following the merger of Al-Qaeda’s franchises in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.