The powerful branches of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and North Africa have called for unity to counter the threat of a U.S.-led coalition which aims at routing militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
An unprecedented joint statement from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb 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,” reported AFP.
AQAP and AQIM also called on the people of 10 Arab countries that have joined the coalition against ISIS to prevent their governments from acting against the militants.
And it promised "dark days" to the "alliance of infidelity and evil.”
Al-Qaeda's leadership under Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egypt-born successor to group founder Osama bin Laden, has disavowed ISIS, which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. And it has its own branch, the Al-Nusra Front, fighting in Syria.
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.
"Stop the infighting between you and stand as one against America’s campaign," it added.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was given commitments from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join the fight against ISIS.
"We call upon our people in... all the nations of this Satanic alliance ... to stand before the face of their agent governments and prevent them – by all legitimate means – from going to war against Islam under the excuse of fighting terrorism," the statement said.
It also urged Syrian rebels to keep up their fight against President Bashar al-Assad, warning them to "beware of being tricked by America ... and thus being diverted from your path" and becoming its "pawns"
Both Yemen-based AQAP, seen by Washington as the network’s most dangerous branch, and AQIM have rejected ISIS’ declaration of an Islamic “caliphate” in June and said they remained loyal to Zawahiri.
AQAP has been linked to a string of attempted attacks on the United States in the past, including a botched bid to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.
It has been a major target of the U.S. "war on terror,” sustaining repeated deadly drone strikes on its leadership since 2002, matched only by those on Afghanistan and Pakistan.