President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said on Tuesday that 70 percent
of al Qaeda fighters in Yemen were foreigners naming Brazil, the
Netherlands, Australia and France among the countries where
militants came from.
Yemen launched a new military offensive this week against Islamist
militants in the south of the country. At least 13 militants,
including a commander from Uzbekistan, were killed on Thursday, the
third day of the offensive, security sources said.
"The vast majority of the mujahideen are from the sons of this
Muslim country, where they were brought together by the brotherhood
of faith, and they, with grace from Allah, are rooted in their
tribes and among their Muslim brothers," al Qaeda's Yemeni wing said
in a statement, translated by SITE.
The statement said the only foreigners in Yemen were U.S. soldiers
who carried out drone attacks, ambassadors from the United States,
Britain and other "Crusader" states who controlled Yemen's policies,
and foreign businessmen who stole the country's resources.
Hundreds of people have been killed in bombings, suicide attacks and
raids by the militant group against military and government
facilities and foreign nationals, hampering the U.S.-allied
country's efforts to restore stability since a popular uprising in
2011 that forced a change of government.
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Stability in Yemen, which shares a long border with the world's top
oil exporter Saudi Arabia, became an international concern after
AQAP tried to carry out attacks abroad, including an attempt blow up
a U.S.-bound airliner.
The United States acknowledges using drone strikes to target AQAP in
Yemen but does not comment on the practice. Critics say the strikes
and civilian casualties are increasing sympathy for AQAP and
resentment against Washington.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; writing by Rania El Gamal;
by Janet Lawrence)
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