Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed credit for the assassination of Brigadier General Salem Ali al Quton, the commander of Yemen’s southern military district, who directed the offensive that cleared the terror group from the major cities and towns in Abyan and Shabwa province. Quton was killed on Monday when a suicide bomber detonated outside of the general’s home.
In the statement, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, AQAP accused Quton of being a pawn of the US, and threatened to target other officers involved in the operation:
Here, the message of the operation to the leaders of the joint American-Yemeni campaign is too eloquent to be put into words. Instead it is composed by the blood and body parts of the martyrdom-seekers who swore to pluck your rotten heads that accepted to be a vehicle for America in its war against the Muslims in Yemen.
Just one day after AQAP abandoned Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan, the terror group vowed to to take the fight into “the cities of the enemy and its capitals,” and accused “the Americans, the French, the British and other Crusaders” of aiding the Yemeni military campaign.
AQAP also was able to kill more than 100 Yemeni soldiers in a suicide attack on May 21 as they paraded in Sana’a.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.