One of the deadliest affiliates of al Qaeda’s global network of terror has threatened Saudi Arabia with bloodshed over plans for a mass execution of prisoners that includes al Qaeda members. In a statement posted on social media Tuesday, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula vowed to carry out revenge attacks should the Saudi government kill its members, according to Reuters.
"We swear to God, our blood will be shed before the blood of our captives, and their pure blood will not dry before we shed the blood of the soldiers of Al Saud," the Islamic militant group, which is primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, said in a statement posted on Twitter and dated Tuesday. "We will not enjoy life unless we get the necks of the Al Saud rulers."
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has carried out a string of deadly attacks in the Middle East since forming in 2009, when the al Qaeda branches in Saudi Arabia and Yemen merged. The group claimed responsibility for an attack on a military parade in Yemen in 2012, in which nearly 100 soldiers died, BBC News reported. The group also claimed to have trained the Islamic gunmen who stormed the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris January and killed 12 people.
Top 5 countries with highest rate of executions. In 2015, the numbers for Iran and Saudi Arabia to double pic.twitter.com/pD3UTCJx3C
— Teymour (@Teymour_Ashkan) November 27, 2015
Local media reported last week that the Saudi kingdom plans to execute 55 people convicted of “terrorist crimes” that killed more than 100 civilians and 71 security personnel. Some of those facing death are alleged al Qaeda militants who stand accused of attempting to overthrow the government and carry out attacks using explosives, small weapons and surface-to-air missiles, according to Saudi newspaper Okaz.
Saudi Arabia has executed at least 151 people this year – its highest recorded toll in nearly two decades, according to Amnesty International. Many of the death sentences were imposed for non-lethal offenses such as drug-related crimes. The only people put to death for al Qaeda attacks in the kingdom, which killed hundreds in the past decade, were two men from Chad earlier this year.