"Filming and promoting it [beheadings] among people in the name of Islam and jihad is a big mistake and not acceptable whatever the justifications are," said al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commander Nasr Ibn Ali al-Ansi, responding to questions posed by reporters in advance of the recording. "This is very barbaric," he continued, AP reports.
Nasr Ibn Ali al-Ansi was speaking during what was billed on Twitter as "The First International Press Conference" with the leader, which it appears was recorded before the killing of two hostages held by his group on Saturday during a US led rescue mission.
AP also reports the commander described US drone strikes as counterproductive, creating opposition among the local population to the US. "While they kill some of the jihadis, the US drone strikes increase the sympathy of Muslims with us," he declared. "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, the call for jihad spreads."
The US has stepped up a campaign of drone strikes against the AQAP, who are also battling Shiite Houthi rebels for control of several areas of the country, after the Houthis took the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September. The last US drone strike to be reported was in early November by CNN, which reportedly killed at least nine suspected AQAP members.