Despite its regional-sounding name, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has historically been overwhelmingly a Yemen organization and with some exceptions its fighters and leadership have been Yemenis.
That may be changing though, as the Yemeni government reports that the 10 days worth of US drone strikes against their territory killed at least seven “Saudi militants” among the total of 34 “suspects” slain in the attacks.
The sheer number of slain suggests a possible influx of foreign fighters into Yemen as AQAP continues to grow as the largest al-Qaeda affiliate in the world. US officials have declined comment and the Pentagon wouldn’t even admit that there is a drone program.
AQAP has long tried to recruit internationally, but apart from a few Saudis in key leadership positions hasn’t been particularly successful in doing so. The Yemeni government has been trying to hype this “threat” for some time however to get bigger foreign aid deals, and today’s claims may simply be more of that.
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