Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula denounces "crusader" French in Mali

DUBAI Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:36am GMT

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Yemen-based offshoot of Al Qaeda urged Muslims to sacrifice themselves and their money to help fend off what it called the "Crusader war" in Mali, according to a statement posted online on Tuesday.

France intervened in Mali last month to check a push south towards the capital Bamako by Islamist forces who seized control of the north of the country in the confusion that followed a military coup in March 2012.

Their surprise advance pushed Mali to the forefront of U.S. and European security concerns, with fears the Islamists would turn the country into a base for international attacks.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) compared the French intervention to what it called the "Zionist occupation of Palestine".

The group said supporting Muslims in Mali was "a duty for every able Muslim, to offer himself or his money, each according to his ability."

Formed in 2009, AQAP has carried suicide attacks on Yemeni government installations and military targets in Yemen. It was also behind a December 2009 plot to blow up a US airliner as it approached Detroit and a 2010 plan to send bombs hidden in computer printers on two cargo aircraft.

Former CIA director David Petraeus has described AQAP as the "most dangerous regional node in the global jihad".

The Mali offensive by French troops, which began last month, has pushed Islamist insurgents out of their strongholds in the north. But the militants launched a surprise raid in the heart of the Malian town of Gao on Sunday.

The brazenness of the rebel raid, which followed successive blasts by two suicide bombers at a northern checkpoint, was a surprise to the French-led military operation, which had so far faced little real resistance from the Islamists.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelatti in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi, Editing by WIlliam Maclean and John Stonestreet)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
Wvandamme wrote:
It has been reported by many that these salafists received financial backing from Qatar, a key US ally. So what’s the real position of the US here? Has their hesitation concerning Mali something to do with this link?

Feb 12, 2013 10:12am GMT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.