Sana’a: Yemeni forces will strike al Qaeda extremists for as long as they pose a threat, the Interior Minister warned, as the Islamist group denied government claims of having killed six of its leaders.
"These strikes will not be the last as long as terrorist elements target state security and stability and institutions," said Major General Mutahar Rashad al-Masri, quoted today by state news agency Saba.
The minister, speaking at a Sunday conference on security, said Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), had recently suffered heavy losses, including the death of a number of its leaders.
The Interior Ministry said on Saturday that the AQAP military boss, Qassem al-Rimi, was among six leaders of the group killed in an air strike by Yemeni forces the previous day in the eastern part of Saada province.
Al Qaeda has denied any of its members were killed in the strike, according to US monitoring group SITE Intelligence Group today.
"None of the mujahedeen were killed in that unjust and insidious raid; rather, some brothers were slightly wounded," AQAP said in a statement on jihadist forums, according to SITE.