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- Created: April 16, 2014
The latest news media reports of a new video from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) featuring the group's leader, Abu Baseer al-Wuhayshi, amidst a large, open gathering of fighters, was released over two weeks ago by the SITE Intelligence Group, on March 29, 2014.
The video, entitled, "The First of the Heavy Rain," was posted on an AQAP Twitter account on March 29, and shows a reception for fighters who escaped from the Central Prison in Sana’a in February 2014. It features speaking segments from Wuhayshi and AQAP official and former Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al-Rubeish, as well as some of the fighters who were freed during the prison break. Two escapees, Munir al-Buni and Salih al-Shawesh, provided information about the operation, and the others expressed their gratitude to the fighters for freeing them. Rubeish spoke of joy for their release, but lamented that there are others elsewhere who have yet to be freed.
SITE's analysis of its database of AQAP multimedia determined that this video is the first appearance of Wuhayshi since a release in July 2013, but the date of recording of his segment in that production is unknown. Also, while AQAP has previously published pictures of Wuhayshi outdoors, this video is the first time he has appeared in such a scene on tape, whereas he is usually shown in a room, or not at all, with only his voice being featured.
“As the leader of AQAP, Abu Baseer al-Wuhayshi is among the most important strategists in al-Qaeda. Jihadists look to him as the number 2 man in the organization, and in some cases, consider him the most capable to replace Ayman al-Zawahiri as the overall chief,” comments SITE Director Rita Katz.
Wuhayshi threatened the U.S. in the video, declaring: “O brothers, the Crusader enemy is still shuffling his papers, so we must remember that we are always fighting the biggest enemy, the leaders of disbelief, and we have to overthrow those leaders, we have to remove the Cross, and the carrier of the Cross is America.”
The video also features former Guantanamo detainee and AQAP official Ibrahim al-Rubeish, as well as some of the fighters who were freed during the prison break. Two escapees, Munir al-Buni and Salih al-Shawesh, provided information about the operation, and the others expressed their gratitude to the fighters for freeing them. Rubeish spoke of joy for their release, but lamented that there are others elsewhere who have yet to be freed.
Following is the clip with Wuhayshi:
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