Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A video showing a gathering of members of the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the desert is circulating in jihadist websites, CNN reported Wednesday.
The video showed AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahishi addressing some 100 fighters as a black al Qaeda flag flaps among them. Al-Wahishi told the crowd that “we must eliminate the cross held by the cross bearer America.”
A press briefing at the Department of State saw reporters asking deputy spokesperson Marie Harf if the CIA did not know about the gathering as no U.S. drone strike was launched. Several AQAP leaders have been killed in U.S. drone strikes.
Harf did not answer the question and instead commented on AQAP’s increasing strength.
Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, commented on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” that the U.S. missed the AQAP gathering. Bergen said the video was released for propaganda purposes.
Retired Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a former U.S. Army brigadier general who served under the George W. Bush administration, told CNN it is unlikely that the U.S. did not know about the meeting.