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Al-Qaeda fighting alongside US-backed forces in Yemen

May 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Government forces attack positions of Houthis and pro-Saleh militants during an operation in Taiz province, Yemen on 6 April 2017 [Abdulnasser Alseddik/Anadolu Agency]

Al-Qaeda is fighting alongside US-backed factions against the Houthis in Yemen, the commander of Al-Qaeda in the country told the group’s media arm Al-Malahem.

Read: US drone strike kills 3 civilians in Yemen

“We fight alongside all Muslims in Yemen, together with different Islamic groups,” Qasim Al-Rimi said, adding that his followers have teamed up with an array of factions, which he referred to as “our brothers among the sons of [Sunni] tribes”, against the Shia Houthis.

Qassm Al-Reymi [File photo]

A number of these groups are key to supporting the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and regularly receive funds and weapons from the US-backed Saudi led coalition, according to the Washington Post.

Al-Rimi, the leader in command of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), succeeded Nasir Al-Wuhayshi who was killed in a US drone strike two years ago. Al-Rimi is on the US’ most wanted list with a $5 million bounty for his capture, and one of the top targets for US strikes which have escalated since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

During a recent trip to the region, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis reiterated interest to support the Saudi-led coalition with additional military means and logistical support to force the Houthis to negotiate.