Al Qaeda Vows to Free Imprisoned Members

After a series of mass jailbreaks, Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula promises that "victory is within reach."

Ari Soffer ,

AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (in white)
AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (in white)

The leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has vowed to release all remaining members of the terrorist group, according to Al Arabiya.

Nasser al-Wuhayshi is a former aid to slain Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and is himself a former prisoner - having tunneled his way out of a jail in 2007.

In an open letter entitled “letter to the captives in the tyrants’ prisons,” al-Wuhayshi declared that "the imprisonment will not last and the chains will be broken," and that they would be freed "soon."

“The detention (of the network’s prisoners) cannot last," he wrote, “Your brothers are about to bring down the walls and thrones of evil... and victory is within reach.

“We’re all on the same ship, some on the deck and others in the bunt and each team owes its survival to the other.”

His message comes as AQAP finds itself on the receiving end of an escalated American onslaught, after intelligence reports that the terrorist network was planning a series of attacks on western targets, including US embassies.

Since those revelations the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda has faced a wave of drone strikes, in which more than 30 of its members have been killed and an unspecified number have been wounded.

But al-Wuhayshi's words will not be taken lightly.

AQAP is still considered the most dangerous arm of the Al Qaeda network by US authorities, and its leader's promise to free jailed terrorists will be seen in light of a spate of high-profile jailbreaks in which senior Islamist terrorists have escaped last month. 

In the first such incident, more than 500 Al Qaeda terrorists were freed in a sophisticated and coordinated attack by the group's Iraqi branch - most of the escapees were on death row for their roles in large-scale terrorist attacks. In Pakistan, Taliban fighters freed nearly 250 prisoners from a jail in Ismail Khan; and in Libya 1,100 prisoners escaped from a jail in Benghazi.