AQAP threaten to execute American hostage in Yemen
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has threatened to execute an American hostage if the US fails to meet a series of demands, according to a video released by the group posted on the SITE Intelligence website.
The hostage has been identified as Luke Somers, a photojournalist who was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a last year.
“Basically, I'm looking for any help that can get me out of this situation,” he appeals in the video.
“I'm certain that my life is in danger. So as I sit here now, I ask if anything can be done, please let it be done. Thank you very much.”
The video also features leading AQAP official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi reading a statement in which he recites a list of indictments against the US for counter-terror operations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Pakistan.
"Otherwise, the American hostage held by us will meet his inevitable fate," he adds chillingly in his Arabic statement. "We warn Obama and the American government of the consequences of proceeding ahead in any other foolish action.
Though the al-Qaeda franchise has been somewhat pushed out of the limelight by the rise of the Islamic State, AQAP is still considered the group’s most dangerous affiliate.
A Yemen defence ministry website last week said that AQAP moved hostages including an American journalist, as well as a Briton and a South African a few days before a raid in the south eastern Hadramawt province to free him.
On Wednesday AQAP claimed responsibility, via social media, for a car bomb that detonated outside the Iranian ambassador's residence in Sanaa killing at least one person and wounding 17.
"The mujaheddin managed this morning to park a car loaded with explosives near the house of the Iranian ambassador and detonated it at 9:02 am (local time)" (0602 GMT), it said in a statement on its Twitter account.
The blast severely damaged the ambassador's residence in Sanaa on Wednesday and also damaged nearby houses, security sources told Anadolu Agency.
AQAP has taken advantage of political unrest in Yemen since anti-government protests in 2011 overthrew the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The growing strength of the Shiite Houthis - whom AQAP regard as heretics - has also led to increasing tensions and sectarian violence.