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Yemeni Qaeda chief vows jihad will intensify

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Nasir al-Wahishi

The leader of Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch has warned that jihad will become more “intense and harmful” following the slaying of Osama bin Laden by US commandos, SITEmonitoring group reported Wednesday.

, leader Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said in a statement posted on an Islamist website that the “ember of jihad is brighter” following the May 2 killing of bin Laden, the US-based group said.

“Do not think of the battle superficially … What is coming is greater and worse, and what is awaiting you is more intense and harmful,” Wahishi said, according to a translation given by SITE.

He warned Americans not to fool themselves that the “matter will be over” with the killing of bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda.

“We promise Allah that we will remain firm in the covenant and that we will continue the march, and that the death of the sheikh will only increase our persistence to fight the Jews and the Americans in order to take revenge,” Wahishi said.

The US has become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Yemen, bin Laden’s ancestral homeland, and has warned of the potential for the country to become a regrouping ground for Al-Qaeda.

Four days after bin Laden was killed in a US commando raid on his Abbottabad compound, about two hour’s drive from Islamabad, a US drone attack targeted US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi in southern Yemen.

The cleric, whom the US says has strong links to Al-Qaeda, survived the attack in southern Yemen but two AQAP members were killed.

In January 2009, the Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda branches announced their merger to form the Yemen-based AQAP, which later went on to claim a failed attempt to bomb Detroit-bound US airliner in December 2009.

A year later in November 2010, AQAP also claimed responsibility for two parcel bombs — ink cartridges packed with explosives — which were intercepted in Dubai and London before they were loaded into cargo aircraft.