The new leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Khalid Batarfi, pledged allegiance to the leader of the international organization Ayman al-Zawahiri “on hearing and obedience,” and has pledged revenge on the United States of America.
In an audio clip broadcast on the site Sada Al-Malahem, or “Echo of Epics”, Batarfi pledged to Al-Zawahiri to carry out “jihad for the sake of God”, and said that allegiance has been announced by him and other elements of the organisation in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.
He also pledged what he described as a “new era” for the terrorist group in Yemen and Arabia in general.
On 7 February, US President Donald Trump announced the death of the organisation’s former leader Qasim al-Rimi, who was killed with a drone strike in the Yakla area of Al-Bayda Governorate, southeast of Sana’a.
Batarfi rose to prominence in 2015, after the AQAP took control of the city of Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut.
Despite the threats aimed at the US, Al-Qaeda has been a de facto ally of the US and the Saudi-led invading coalition in Yemen ever since the invasion started in 2015. Members of the terrorist organisation have been reported fighting alongside Saudi and Emirati forces as well as mercenaries and organisations such as the Islah Party.