Sanaa: A deadly Al Qaeda attack this month on a Yemeni defence ministry hospital was a mistake and the militant network is ready to pay blood money, a top commander has said.
The brazen daylight attack on the defence ministry complex on December 5 left 56 people dead, including patients and foreign medics from the Philippines, Germany, Vietnam and India.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has already claimed responsibility for the attack and late Saturday its military chief said in an online video the assault on the hospital had not been authorised.
“The attack was on the ministry of defence, it was not on the hospital,”said AQAP military commander Qassem al-Rimi.
Rimi said the militants were told to stay away from the hospital and a prayer hall in the sprawling defence ministry complex, but that one lone jihadist disobeyed orders.
“We told them (jihadists) to be cautious, not to enter the prayer place or the hospital. Eight of our brothers were cautious, and one did not. May Allah forgive him and have mercy on him,” said Rimi.
AQAP, which is considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of Al Qaeda, is also willing to pay for the medical treatment of civilians wounded in the hospital attack, he added.