Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has unveiled a new special operations training video featuring jihadis taunting the U.S. and vowing to fight to capture Palestine and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Video reviewed by The Foreign Desk shows militants at the Hamzah Zinjibari training camp being put through training exercises and are taught combat skills, while an Islamic cleric dressed in military fatigues emphasizes the "long game" of jihad and how “thousands” of militants have benefited from various terror training camps throughout Yemen.
The 40-minute video was released by Al Malahen media, the publishing arm of AQAP, also known as Ansar Al Sharia, which originally formed as an offshoot in 2011 during Libya’s civil war and led the brutal attack on the U.S. Embassy in the Benghazi attack one year later which left four Americans dead.
Less than a month after the Benghazi attack, the State Department included Ansar Al Sharia in Yemen on its foreign terror list.
The camp, named after Jalal Baleedi a.k.a. Hamza Al Zinjibari, an Al Qaeda leader killed by the U.S. in a drone strike earlier this year, is unique in that much of the training appears to be held indoors, a move possibly initiated to avoid detection in the aftermath of Zinjibari’s death in February.
After basic warmups involving stretching, push-ups and boxing drills, militants practice shooting balloons, bottles, moving targets and eventually train for drive-by shootings from the back of a motorcycle and again from a vehicle simulating kidnappings.
Surrounded by masked, armed militants, one jihadi proclaims “O America, if you are truly men then descend upon the battle and the field of men,” in what may be a reference to the drone war expansion unleashed in Yemen under President Obama. “We will surely make you taste much greater from what you tasted in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. Expect from us what will surely pain you. And you wait! We (too) are waiting,” he adds.
“O America, you have killed Hamza Zinjibari but you are far away from achieving your goals. And here it is, the tree that has been watered by his blood,” a militant adds, in retaliation to U.S. claims that the killing of jihadi leaders will diminish the spread of terror.