Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan discusses bomb material found on cargo planes in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on October 29, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Washington strongly condemns al-Qaida violence in Yemen that left more than 12 members of the country's military dead, an adviser said.
Yemen's official Saba news agency reported last week that as many as 15 members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula killed government forces during an ambush in the country's restive southern province of Abyan.
John Brennan, the deputy national security adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said in a message to Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh that Obama "strongly condemned" the attacks, the White House said.
Brennan in his message said the AQAP attacks reflected the group's intention to wipe out Yemeni figures who were "valiantly seeking to stop al-Qaida's attempts to carry out terrorist attacks in Yemen as well as in other countries."
The security adviser in his message to the Yemeni president stated that Washington was committed to supporting the Yemeni government in its efforts against al-Qaida terrorists.
AQAP leader Ayman al-Awlaki said he was in contact with the confessed triggerman in a shooting rampage in 2009 in Fort Hood, Texas, before the assault. AQAP was also linked to a failed plot to down a U.S. passenger plane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 and several bombing attempts targeting international freight carriers last year.