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AQAP Calls UN Claim of Leader’s Arrest ‘Miserable Attempt to Wage a Psychological War’

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula officially denied “in whole” a United Nations report that said the group’s leader, Khalid Batarfi, had been arrested in an October raid in which his deputy, Saad Atef al Awlaki, had been killed.

The report, which did not included further details about arrest or imprisonment, had been included in a report to the UN Security Council from a monitoring team tracking terror groups. “In addition to leadership losses, AQAP is suffering an erosion of its ranks caused by dissensions and desertions, led primarily by one of Batarfi’s ex-lieutenants, Abu Omar al-Nahdi,” the report also said.

AQAP issued a statement Thursday calling the news “a false and deceptive report and an outright lie to the public.”

“We know for sure that it is a lie, and the enemy knows for certain that it is a lie, and its purpose is to repeat the cycle of lies and broken rumors which have bored the people, and it is a miserable and failed attempt to wage a psychological war on the mujahideen, which was born dead,” the terror group continued. “Then, bring evidence if you are honest, but you will not find the means to do so, as Allah has kept for you what will harm you.”

AQAP said it was “not surprised” at the UN report “but we did not expect that lying would be to this extent to the public.”

“The matter in this organization is not limited to its bias in favor of the West in its decisions only, but even in falsification of facts, counterfeiting, and lies, even at the expense of losing its credibility in front of the world,” the statement continued. “As it was proven to use before, we hope that this false report will be a reason to reveal the truth about this organization, and its biased decisions and reports before the Muslim masses and those remaining neutral.”

The terror group then focused its ire on the media that “claims to be impartial, professional, and concerned about its credibility, and it is far from this” and said it had been “dealt with analyzing the false news.”

Despite the UN report, Batarfi appeared in a 20-minute February AQAP video called “America and the Painful Seizure,” which started with two minutes of footage from the attack on the Capitol – starting with the shooting of Ashli Babbitt by Capitol Police as she tried to climb through a door’s shattered window to breach the speaker’s lobby.

Batarfi said that America’s “haughtiness and arrogance” continued and “unjust and tyranny also befell her citizens,” citing social justice issues, economic inequality, unemployment, crime, and suicide and mental health issues. “Today America takes the lion’s share of epidemic corona and comes at the top of the list of the perished, which has reached more than 400,000,” he said, putting the date of the recording after that Jan. 19 milestone.

The AQAP leader also mentioned “the incident of breaking into the Congress” on Jan. 6 as “only a little bit of what will happen to them, by permission of Allah. And whoever thinks that this matter will be ceased at this limit or that somebody can stop the overwhelming imminent collapse of America certainly is mistaken and deceived.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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