Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula's "Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi Brigade" Claims Attempted Assassination of British Ambassador in Yemen

Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP; Qaeda, Qaida) issued a statement today claiming responsibility for the attempted assassination of Timothy Torlot, Britain's ambassador to Yemen, on April 26 in an upscale area of the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a. The area where a kamikaze bomber, named in the statement as 'Uthman Nu'man al-Salawi, was near the 5-star Movenpick Hotel, which I remember from a brunch during a summer studying Arabic in Yemen three years ago. The statement notes that Britain is "America's closest ally" in its "war in Yemen" and "against Muslims" around the world.

The attack was carried out by a new "detachment/brigade" of AQAP named after the late leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi. The statement includes the name of the "Brigade of Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi." He was killed in an air strike on April 18 near Tikrit, Iraq along with Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (Abu Ayyub al-Masri), the head of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI) and "minister of war" of the ISI. Background on al-Baghdadi and al-Muhajir, as well as the ISI, can be found in my guest editorial, "The Death of a Caliph: Will the Reported Killings of the Islamic State of Iraq's Two Senior Leaders Spell Out the End of the Self-styled Jihadi State?", on Prof. Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog. The naming of a special unit or campaign after a "martyred" leader is not rare among transnational jihadi-takfiri groups. Several exist, including the 'Abdullah 'Azzam Brigades in the Levant and its Ziyad Jarrah Brigade in Lebanon. A campaign in Iraq was dubbed the Expedition of Abu Anas al-Shami by the organization headed by Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi in 2005, after a senior leader killed in a U.S. air strike in September 2004.

AQAP recently issued a statement of condolences for al-Baghdadi's and al-Muhajir's deaths.


AQAP British Ambassador

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