A group believed to be Al Qaeda's wing in Yemen claimed responsibility Tuesday for attacks carried out on local oil facilities in September and vowed more strikes against the U.S. and its allies.
"Let the Americans and their allies among the worshippers of the cross and their apostate aides ... know that these operations are only the first spark and that what is coming is more severe and bitter," the Internet statement said according to a Reuters news agency translation.
The posting on a site used by Islamist militant groups could not be independently verified, but a U.S. official told FOX News the message appeared to be genuine.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Al Qaeda's Yemen branch appeared to have fully regrouped following the capture and subsequent escape in February of several key members who are believed to have been behind the 2001 bombing of the USS Cole.
The intelligence community did not believe the timing of the message was connected to the elections in the United States, the official said.
In the statement, the Al Qaeda group claimed the bombing attacks targeting American- and Canadian-owned oil facilities in the eastern provinces of Marib and Hadarmout on Sept. 15, 2006, were successful and that the media had misinformed the public.
"This is not the first time that the media was silent about the results of operation, and attempted to alter the facts and distort the image of the Mujahideen," the statement said.
At the time, it was reported that four bombers were killed when security forces blew up four rigged cars before they reached the Canadian Nexen Petroleum Company's oil refinery in al-Dhabba and the American Hunt Oil Company's refinery in Safer. A guard was reportedly killed at the Nexan Inc. facility.
The statement said the operations were carried out under the orders of Usama bin Laden. Yemen is the ancestral home of the Al Qaeda leader.
The group also referred to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh as the "devil" and urged him to renounce democracy and his alliance with America.
Saleh, who has ruled since 1990, made Yemen a U.S. ally after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and cracked down on Al Qaeda.