In a reversal of its previous stance, al-Qaida’s Yemen-based branch, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has expressed “solidarity” with the ISIS militants who have been terrorizing Christians and others in Iraq and Syria.
“We announce solidarity with our Muslim brothers in Iraq against the crusade,” AQAP declared in a statement reported by the Yemini Times.
“Their blood and injuries are ours and we will surely support them. We stand by the side of our Muslim brothers in Iraq against the American and Iranian conspiracy and their agents of the apostate Gulf states.”
The Times referred to a report that AQAP members were in Syria and Iraq, affiliated with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), while some ISIS militants were training al-Qaida fighters in Yemen.
Al-Badri has warned that ISIS will soon be “in direct confrontation” with the United States.
The AQAP statement, if authentic, would be significant because al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri publicly disavowed ISIS last year, CNS News pointed out. At the time, Zawahiri ordered ISIS leader Ibrahim al-Badri to limit his activities to Iraq. Instead, ISIS extended its operations in Syria as well and has now seized control of portions of both countries.
The statement from AQAP also offered ISIS advice on how to avoid the airstrikes President Obama has ordered against the militants in northern Iraq.
“Based on our experience with drones, we advise our brothers in Iraq to be cautious about spies among them because they are a key factor in setting goals; be cautious about dealing with cellphones and Internet networks; do not gather in large numbers or move in large convoys; spread [out] in farms or hide under trees in the case of loud humming of warplanes; and dig sophisticated trenches because they reduce the impact of shelling,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, ISIS posted a gruesome video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who disappeared in Syria in 2012, and al-Badri has warned that ISIS will soon be “in direct confrontation” with the United States.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Christians and members of other religious groups, including Yazidis, have fled their homes to escape the onslaught of ISIS, which has told Christians they must convert to Islam, pay a fine, or face death.
The spectacle of the endangered Christians moved an Iraqi TV host to break down in tears on the air while discussing their plight, CNS News also reported.
“They are our own flesh and blood,” Nahi Mahdi said on Asia TV. “Some of them have left for Sweden or Germany. Who does (ISIS) think it is to drive out our fellow countrymen?”