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Al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate denounces Islamic State

Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari, a senior sharia official from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, rebuked Islamic State-leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi for statements proclaiming Yemen part of an IS-dominated caliphate.

By Fred Lambert

SANAA, Yemen, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The group representing al-Qaida in Yemen released a video Friday denouncing the leader of the Islamic State for a speech made earlier this month directly challenging control over the Arabian Peninsula.

In a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, Harith bin Ghazi al-Nadhari, a senior sharia official with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, otherwise known as al-Qaida in Yemen, rebuked video statements made earlier this month by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring an IS-dominated caliphate that included Yemen.

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Earlier this year al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan, who initially supported IS, denounced the group for its attacks on Muslims. The two organizations cut ties, and while IS forces have battled with al-Qaida groups in Syria such as the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate has acted as the moderator between the two, encouraging cooperation in battling common enemies such as the Assad regime and Western powers.

But in a Nov. 13 video, al-Baghdadi accepted calls of allegiance from groups that have emerged in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and in Libya, and went further to proclaim the expansion of the Islamic State to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Algeria, as well as the "nullification" of the groups therein.

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As a direct challenge to the existence of AQAP, the claim was rejected by al-Nadhari, who said, "The announcement of the caliphate for all Muslims by our brothers in the Islamic State did not meet the required conditions."

Among other points, al-Nadhari also reiterated an older al-Qaida dispute with al-Baghdadi's claim to be the caliph, a position for which the extremist group -- including al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri -- recognizes Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

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