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Al Qaeda Apologizes For Yemen Hospital Attack

Mideast Yemen
CAIRO (AP) - In a rare public apology, the military leader of al-Qaida's branch in Yemen has said that one of his fighters disobeyed orders and attacked a hospital attached to the Defense Ministry during a December assault that killed 52 people.

Qassim al-Rimi, commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said in a video posted on militant websites that the attackers were warned in advance not to enter the hospital within the complex, nor a place for prayer there. But he said one fighter did.

"Now we acknowledge our mistake and guilt," al-Rimi said in a video released late Saturday by al-Qaida's media arm al-Mallahem. "We offer our apology and condolences to the victims' families. We accept full responsibility for what happened in the hospital and will pay blood money for the victims' families."

The apology seemed prompted by Yemen state television earlier broadcasting a video showing a gunman attacking doctors and other hospital staff. Several al-Qaida jihadis tried to dismiss the video as fake on militant websites, but the outcry apparently embarrassed the al-Qaida branch to the point of issuing an unusual expression of regret from the group.

"We rid ourselves of what our brother did," al-Rimi said. "We did not order him to do so and we are not pleased with what he did."

However, al-Rimi said despite the group making a mistake, "we are continuing with our jihad."

The authenticity of the English-subtitled video could not be absolutely confirmed, though it was consistent with other Associated Press reporting and came from al-Qaida's media arm.

That fighter and eight other militants were killed in the Dec. 5 suicide bombing and gunmen attack on the ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen's capital. Seven foreigners from Germany, India, the Philippines and Vietnam were among the dead - all who were providing aid at the hospital.

Al-Rimi repeated al-Qaida's earlier claim that the Defense Ministry was attacked because it housed drone control rooms and American experts. He also said that security headquarters used by Americans in their war are "legitimate targets."

"We have a long list of these places," al-Rimi said.He also warned that fighters also will attack any other military posts and camps that "cooperate with the American drones by spying, planting chips, providing information or offering intelligence advice."

U.S. drone strikes in Yemen have inflicted heavy losses on al-Qaida militants and are part of a joint U.S.-Yemeni campaign against a group which Washington has called the most dangerous branch of the global terrorist network.

But a Dec. 12 drone attack that mistook a wedding party convoy for an al-Qaida convoy, killing 15 people, has fueled anger against the United States and the government in Sanaa among a Yemeni public already opposed to the strikes. Yemen's parliament later urged the government to end the use of Yemen's airspace by U.S. drones.

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buddyboygabe December 22 2013 at 11:37 PM

must be learning from O's apology tour.

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grumpydriver43 December 22 2013 at 11:14 PM

Thanks for that not so un- sincere apology because you stated we will continue with our Jihad. Maybe for Christmas you can receive some cat poo disguised as almond Roca

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jfelix7806 December 22 2013 at 11:11 PM

Did everyone see where we, the USA, murdered 15 people in a wedding convoy in Yemen on December 12? What does that make us?
Why are we murdering innocent people in other countries?

We are not any better than Al Qaida. Shame on us.

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espinosa family December 22 2013 at 11:59 PM

and ......

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kesubrma December 22 2013 at 10:40 PM

God will punish them !!!

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1 reply to kesubrma's comment
hattie54 December 22 2013 at 11:27 PM

My hubby says they're worse than the Nazis.

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joe12k4 December 22 2013 at 10:11 PM

Al Qaeda only apoligize if it is caught on film.

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cocoscooby December 22 2013 at 10:02 PM

All men and women are precious in God's eyes.

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1 reply to cocoscooby's comment
buddyboygabe December 22 2013 at 11:40 PM

which god?

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walterwds3 December 22 2013 at 9:50 PM

These are the acts of cowards. An apology from some dirt bag means nothing and their cowardly actions speak loud and clearly. They know only one language violence. Send the drones to speak to them in the language the understand.

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ARNIE R December 22 2013 at 9:42 PM

They kill 52 people "accidently" and apologize for it?

Well, that makes my day all better now.......

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ajland101 December 22 2013 at 9:29 PM

Jesus is the way, truth and life..

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tugsboat December 22 2013 at 9:18 PM

Wel of course that makes it all ok now doesn't it> Guess it's time to send out the negotiating team from DC and work with them!

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Tass December 22 2013 at 9:42 PM

or maybe your god damned nation can stop bombing other people

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