U.S. blacklists new alias of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula

U.S. blacklists new alias of al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula
# 04 October 2012 23:54 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The U.S. State Department on Thursday blacklisted Ansar al-Shari’a (AAS), a group it called a new alias of the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The move bars American citizens from doing business with or providing support to the group, and freezes all of its assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

The United Nations 1267/1989 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee also added the AAS to its list on Thursday, a move that subjects the group to a worldwide assets freeze, a travel ban and an arms embargo, the department noted.

The AAS, which is based in Yemen as the AQAP, was established to attract potential followers to the sharia rule in areas under the control of AQAP, the agency said.

"However, AAS is simply AQAP’s effort to rebrand itself, with the aim of manipulating people to join AQAP’s terrorist cause," the department said in a statement, noting the group has taken responsibility for multiple attacks against Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing in May 2012, which killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers.

The AAS also launched a series of attacks in southern Yemen in March 2012, killing 100 people, many of them Yemeni soldiers, the department added.

The Yemeni government troops have launched an intensive military campaign, with the support of the United States and Yemen ’s oil-rich neighbor Saudi Arabia, with a view to uprooting the al- Qaeda militants in the southern regions.

The AQAP was branded by Washington as a foreign terrorist organization in January 2010, as the group was accused of trying to bomb American and Western interests time and again.

"We are determined to eliminate AQAP’s ability to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle and defeat their networks," the State Department said.

It said the AAS is a separate entity from Ansar al-Shari’a in Libya, which was accused of involving in the attack on the U.S. consulate in eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff were killed.