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article imageAl Qaeda gives rare apology for Yemeni hospital attack

By Scott Tuttle     Dec 23, 2013 in World
Sanaa - In a video message on Sunday, Qassim al-Raimi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, issued a rare apology for an attack on a hospital in Yemen earlier this month that left 52 dead.
According to the al-Qaeda leader, the assailant caught in the surveillance footage was ordered not to attack the hospital or the mosque during a strike against the Yemeni Ministry of Defense compound in Sanaa on December 5.
"We saw what the Yemeni channel broadcast: a gunman entering a hospital . ... We did not order him to do so, and we are not pleased with what he did. Moreover, it wronged us and pained us, because we do not fight in this manner," said al-Ramii.
The clip features a lone aggressor calmly walking toward a group of terrified patients huddled up in the hallway as he tossed a grenade in their midst. Along with these patients, several doctors, nurses, and medics also perished in the attack.
"Now we acknowledge our mistake and guilt," said al-Raimi. "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. ...We did not want your lost ones; we did not target them on purpose. This is not of our religion or our morals."
However, in spite of the apology for the "accidental" attack on the hospital, the al-Qaeda leader also reiterated that the jihadist attacks on military compounds facilitating U.S. drone development and use would continue. Any place that spies or provides information to the U.S. government, according to al-Raimi, is fair game.
"We have a long list of these places. In case they continue, we will continue. We will reach them, because we defend ourselves. We made a mistake. We accept responsibility and we are continuing with our Jihad."
Since 2009, the U.S. military and the CIA have carried out 81 assassination missions in Yemen of which at least 473 people have been killed.
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