A senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Ali bin Nasr al-Ansi, said in a video that "Obama adopted his erroneous decision, which was signing of the death sentence against US citizen Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie".

Both hostages were killed by their Al Qaeda guards when a firefight broke out with a US special forces team that attempted to free them last weekend, acting in response to a threat by his captors to murder Somers in three days' time.

Al-Ansi said that despite his warnings, US authorities opted for "a military solution, which has failed and will fail".

The leader of AQAP said in the video that Washington knew that "their demands are just", as the group has proposed to release Somers in exchange for an Egyptian and Pakistani who are prisoners in the US on terrorism charges.

Al Ansi also said that the South African hostage was also just about to be released after negotiations with a South African NGO. In an unrelated event, members of the Al Qaeda launched an attack on Thursday on the al-Anad military airbase used by US troops in southern Yemen, in a bid to avenge the jihadis who died last week in US hostage rescue missions.

Al Qaeda posted a claim on its official Twitter account that it fired six Grad missiles into the part of the airbase, located some 37 miles from the seaport of Aden, used by US troops as a training centre for the Yemeni military.

Information as to possible US or Yemeni casualties was not immediately available. Citizens living in an adjoining area in the southern province of Lahsh told Efe news agency that they first heard several explosions followed by gunfire, without knowing immediately whether the attack has caused any casualties.

The US forces use the airbase of al-Anad for training Yemeni troops but Al Qaeda charges that the complex is being used as a base for launching drones at its members in the southern and eastern regions of the country.

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