Administration Downplays New Al Qaeda Video from Yemen
(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department says that Americans shouldn't get too worked up over a recent video showing what appears to be a gathering of al Qaeda’s dangerous Yemen affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The video, which was posted on Islamic militant websites two weeks ago, features AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahishi addressing dozens of fighters.
According to the translation, Wahishi tells his followers, "The enemy crusader still has cards to play. We must remember that we are always fighting against the big enemy. We must eliminate the cross held by the cross bearer America." Wahishi joined al Qaeda before the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S. and escaped from a maximum security prison in Yemen in 2006.
As threatening as the new video might sound, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at a Wednesday press briefing, "I don't think this increases our concern because quite frankly our concern was already incredibly high."
Top U.S. officials have previously described AQAP as the most dangerous of the al Qaeda affiliates, more so than the terror group’s core cadre led by Ayman al-Zawahiri in southwest Asia.
Harf said as much at the briefing, adding, "We know they've been gaining in strength. We have been increasingly concerned about them, as I said, since 2009. That's why we've worked increasingly to counter the threat from AQAP in a variety of different ways."
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