Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch is offering a bounty for anyone who kills the US ambassador in Sanaa or any American soldiers in the country.
The announcement was made through an audio recording produced by the al-Malahem Foundation — the group’s media arm.
Yahoo! News reports that the recording was uploaded to several militant websites on Saturday and offers $160,000 in gold for killing the US ambassador.
The group has also offered to pay $23,000 to anyone who kills an American soldier inside the country’s borders. The bounty offering comes one day after three al Qaeda-linked militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike.
Drone strikes in Yemen have killed at least 10 people in the last week. The offer by the group is valid for six months, according to the recording. The statement added that the bounties were set in place to “inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad.”
The US government considers the al Qaeda branch in Yemen to be the most dangerous. They were responsible last year for taking advantage of a security lapse in the country, overrunning several towns and villages during nationwide protests that ousted the country’s ruler.
Fox News notes that the US ambassador to Yemen is Gerald M. Feierstein, who was sworn in on September 17, 2012. He also served previously as Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is a specialist in Near East and South Asian affairs.
He has also served in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Pakistan, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Oman. The threat against the life of a US ambassador is especially sensitive after the death of US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Stevens was killed on September 11 when a group of militants stormed the US Consulate in Benghazi, also killing three other men. It is not yet clear what the State Department plans to do about the threat by Yemen’s al Qaeda branch against the US ambassador’s life.