Al-Qaeda leader Khalid Batarfi denies arrest in videotaped speech
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- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, also known as Ansar...[+]
Affected Countries: yemen;
Khalid Batarfi, the Yemen-based leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), recently appeared in a videotaped recording a week after the United Nations (UN) announced that he was arrested months ago in Al-Mahrah governorate.
Late on Wednesday, the terrorist organisation’s media arm, Al-Malahim Foundation, released a 20-minute video entitled America and the painful plight, monitored by SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of extremist groups.
“America suffers today from the largest wave [of coronavirus] and witnesses the biggest toll of fatalities and infections, as more than 400,000 died from the pandemic,” expressed Batarfi, quoting statistics reported by US media on 19 January.
He added: “The storming of Congress (6 January) is only the tip of the iceberg of the storms they will face in the future,” referring to supporters of former President Donald Trump who attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to hinder the Congress approval of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Batarfi considered these events part of the “collapse” of the US, while talking about the attacks carried out by the organisation against US facilities and headquarters inside and outside the US.
On 4 February, a UN report issued by experts concerned with monitoring extremist groups announced the arrest of Batarfi and the killing of his deputy Saad Al-Awlaki, during a military operation launched by the Yemeni government forces in the city of Al-Ghaydah last October.
The Yemeni authorities have not announced the operation and have refrained from issuing a statement, even after the release of the UN report.
Batarfi is a Saudi of Yemeni origins, born in Riyadh in 1979, and assumed the leadership of a branch of Al-Qaeda in February 2020 after its former leader, Qasim Al-Raymi, was killed in a US raid in Yemen.
In January 2017, Washington put Batarfi on its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT), announcing a reward of $11 million in early February 2020 for anyone who provides information to help the arrest of the Al-Qaeda leader and his deputy.
Source: Middle East Monitor