London, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Islamic Jihad group in Yemen has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack on the US Embassy in Sanaa in which 16 Yemeni soldiers and civilians were killed and it threatened to launch more attacks on other embassies, among them those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The group had threatened in a previous statement the day before yesterday to launch a series of attacks if the Yemeni Government did not respond and release several of its jailed members. The Islamic Jihad in Yemen said in its statement “we in the Islamic Jihad in Yemen organization claim responsibility for the suicide operation” against the US Embassy in Sanaa. The fundamentalist group called on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to release a number of its jailed members.
A fundamentalist leader in London told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Islamic Jihad in Yemen organization is the remnant of the “Islamic Aden-Abyan Army” which was led at that time by Zayn alAbidin Abu-Bakr al-Mihdar, alias Abi al-Hasan, who was executed for killing foreign tourists at the end of 1998, among them British and Australians.
But an Egyptian Islamist asserted to Asharq al-Awsat that Islamic Jihad leader Khalid Abdul-Nabi’s relationship with the government is strong and close and denied reports that the group was involved in the attack which took place yesterday morning. He pointed out that “the group does not get involved in such activities.” It is recalled that the Islamic Aden-Abyan Army praised the attacks on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August 1998 and said they were heroic operations carried out by the heroes of jihad. It also declared its support for Osama Bin Laden following the American retaliatory raid on his camp in Afghanistan and urged the Yemeni people to kill the Americans and destroy their possessions. Islamic Jihad elements fought with the Yemeni forces against Aden during the secessionist war of 1994.
A fundamentalist leader in London said the attack on the US Embassy in the capital Sanaa was most probably revenge-motivated for the dismantling a terrorist cell belonging to the organization last month. The fundamentalist, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity added that the attack targeted the “top one” on the pretext that the Yemeni Government is acting according to American agenda in the fight against terrorism, that is, the message from the “Jihad” group says: “We are attacking the one giving the orders”, a reference to the United States.
He stressed that reports that the group’s leader Khalid Abdul-Nabi was in the hands of authorities are false even though he was held for 48 hours after the latest raids. The latest attack came less than a week after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
It is worth mentioning that Khalid Abdul-Nabi carried out several operations five years ago, which targeted the army and security forces in Abyan, took up positions in Hattat Mountains, and engaged in clashes with the army in which five of his followers were killed and he fled. He remained hidden until he reappeared recently and returned for a new confrontation with the security and policemen.