Al Qaeda units urge jihad on US-led battle against IS
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Two key branches of al Qaeda in Yemen and North Africa called Tuesday for jihadists in Iraq and Syria to unite against the common threat from a US-led coalition.
In an unprecedented joint statement, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) urged their "brothers" in Iraq and Syria to "stop killing each other and unite against the American campaign and its evil coalition that threatens us all."
The al Qaeda leadership has disavowed the main target of the US-led campaign, the Islamic State group (IS) that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, and has its own branch fighting in Syria, the al Nusra Front.
But the joint statement, released on two jihadist Twitter accounts, called for differences to be set aside in the face of the growing coalition.
"Make the unity of the infidel nations against you a reason for your unity against them," it said, accusing Washington of "leading a Crusader campaign against Islam and all Muslims."
Both the Yemen-based AQAP, considered the network's most dangerous branch, and AQIM rejected IS's declaration of an Islamic caliphate in June and said they remained loyal to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egypt-born successor to Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.