Al-Qaeda’s branches in Yemen and North Africa on Tuesday issued an unprecedented joint statement calling for jihadists in Iraq and Syria to unite against the common threat from a U.S.-led coalition, AFP reported.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) urged their “brothers” in Iraq and Syria to “stop killing each other and unite against the American campaign and its evil coalition that threatens us all.”
AQAP and AQIM also called on the people of 10 Arab countries that have joined the coalition against the Islamic State group to prevent their governments from acting against IS, according to AFP.
The two groups promised “dark days” to the “alliance of infidelity and evil”.
Al-Qaeda’s leadership under Ayman al-Zawahiri has disavowed IS, which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, but the joint statement, released on two jihadist Twitter accounts, called for differences to be set aside in the face of the growing coalition.
“Make the unity of the infidel nations against you a reason for your unity against them,” it said, accusing Washington of “leading a Crusader campaign against Islam and all Muslims”.
“Stop the infighting between you and stand as one against America’s campaign,” it added, according to AFP.
U.S. President Barack Obama last week announced that a broader campaign would seek to "degrade and ultimately destroy'' IS.
The campaign has already been slammed by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Monday said his country had rejected a U.S. request for cooperation against the IS because Washington has “dirty hands”.
Secretary of State John Kerry waffled on his position from last Friday, when he ruled out Iran's participation in the global coalition against IS, saying in an interview that he would be open to military cooperation with Iran.
Asked in a Yahoo interview whether the U.S. would cooperate militarily with Iran, Kerry did not rule out the option, saying, "Let’s see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."