(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstration
(illustrative) al Qaeda demonstration AFP/File

An Al Qaeda leader has given a rare apology for the deadly attack earlier this month in Yemen which killed 52 people, according to USA Today Sunday. Shocking CCTV footage of the attack revealed how terrorists stormed a hospital complex, executing patients and medical staff in cold blood, drawing anger from many Yemenis.

Qassim al-Rimi, commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, stated in a video that the attackers were warned in advance not to enter the hospital within the complex, nor a place for prayer there. One terrorist, he insisted, ignored direct orders. 

"Now we acknowledge our mistake and guilt," al-Rimi stated in a video released late Saturday by al-Qaeda's media arm al-Mallahem.

"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."

Analysts say that a Yemeni state television broadcast prompted the apology, after widespread outrage at footage showing the killer attacking hospital staff. While Al Qaeda tried to dismiss the video as a hoax, the broadcast apparently embarrassed the group's leaders enough to make a public apology for their actions.

"We rid ourselves of what our brother did," al-Rimi said. "We did not order him to do so and we are not pleased with what he did."

Despite this, of course, the leader vowed to continue "our Jihad," or killing innocents in the name of a global Islam. 

USA Today notes that the authenticity of the video, which had English subtitles, cannot be confirmed. 

In addition to 52 dead, 167 people were also reportedly injured in the attack. The bloodshed - the worst in Yemen in 18 months - prompted the US to raise its alert status of the Middle-Eastern country. 

Al Qaeda has stepped up its attacks in Yemen over the past several years. In September, a large-scale coordinated attack on military bases and outposts left over 40 dead.