Sanaa: Al Qaeda's wing in Yemen has vowed to avenge the Sunni clerics executed recently by the Saudi government, according to an audio tape posted on the internet on Sunday. "That execution of Sunni clerics was part of the US-led war on terror, and for this we tell America and its ally that you have tested our warfare since 1990s... wait for us... we will come after you again and again," said Ibrahim al-Esiri, the military leader of Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in a seven-minute tape posted by AQAP Al-Malahim media.
Al-Esiri named several prominent Sunni clerics who were among the executed and vowed to avenge them, according to Xinhua. On January 2, Saudi Arabia announced the execution of 47 people on terrorist charges, including the prominent Shia Muslim cleric, Nimr al-Nimrits. Most of the executed were Saudis and involved in a series of attacks carried out by Al Qaeda from 2003-06, Saudi Press Agency reported. Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al Qaeda insurgencies in the Middle East and the affiliate of the Islamic State. Security situation in the country has deteriorated since March 2015 when war broke out between the Shia Houthi group, supported by former president Ali Abdullash Saleh, and the government, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition. More than 6,000 people have died during the civil war. AQAP fighters have been taking advantage of the ongoing security vacuum in the south and the east, seizing large swaths of the oil-rich southeastern province of Hadramout in April last year.