(Reuters) – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, reacting to the loss of its strongholds to Shi’ite Houthi fighters, has accused its opponents of acting as a proxy for the United States and threatened renewed violence against them.
In an audio message on jihadist websites, al AQAP’s military commander Qassim al-Raymi called the Houthis “the new rented gun for the enemies of Islam”.
“You have to know that the mosques of Muslims that you blew up along with their homes and schools, will not just pass unnoticed and you will pay the price dearly,” he said.
The Houthis’ Ansarullah movement has become the main political force in Western-allied Yemen since it captured the capital Sanaa in September and then pushed into the Sunni Muslim heartland of al-Bayda province, where Ansar al-Sharia, the local AQAP affiliate, has allied itself with tribes.
Houthi fighters backed by government forces drove Ansar al-Sharia from one of its last strongholds in central Yemen last week.
Raymi’s message – which Reuters could not immediately verify – signaled more violence between the Sunni militants and the Houthi fighters, whom AQAP view as heretics.