AQAP demands prisoner exchange for 73 captured Yemeni soldiers

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has demanded that the Yemeni government free AQAP prisoners in exchange for 73 soldiers who were captured in last week’s raid on a mechanized battalion base in Al Koud. In addition to capturing 73 soldiers during that raid, AQAP killed 185 and wounded more than 150. From the AQAP statement, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group:

The mujahideen announce their readiness to release the 73 captive officers and soldiers whom they arrested during the “Cutting of the Tail” operations, in return to the release of their captives in the prisons of the Political Security and the National Security.

AQAP said that the “full responsibility for the fate of the soldiers” rests on “the American ambassador and Abd Rabbuh Mansur [President Hadi], who insists on escalation, launching an unjustified war against the mujahideen of Ansar al Shariah in Abyan.”

In response to escalating attacks by AQAP, the US has ramped up attacks on the group, launching three drone strikes, two in Jaar and one in Al Baydah, over the weekend.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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