An al-Qaida affiliate has taken the rare step of apologizing to the families of victims killed in a botched attack in Yemen earlier this month.
The attack on the Defense Ministry in the capital, Sanaa, was meant to hit an area of the complex where al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) says U.S. drones are being controlled. But a hospital on the grounds was also hit in the Dec. 5 attack, and many of the 56 victims were doctors, nurses and patients.
The BBC reports that AQAP's military leader, Qasim al-Raymi, acknowledged "our mistake and guilt," and said one of the group's fighters had disobeyed orders and targeted the hospital.
The BBC says:
"There was widespread public outrage after state television broadcast CCTV pictures showing a gunman wandering the corridors and wards shooting unarmed people. At one point, he was filmed walking up to a group of patients, then calmly tossing a grenade into their midst."
"We did not order him to do so, and we are not pleased with what he did," Raymi says in a video posted on jihadist websites by AQAP's media arm, the news agency reports.
"We offer our apology and condolences to the victims' families," he said. "We accept full responsibility for what happened in the hospital, and will pay blood money for the victims' families."
However, Raymi vowed "we are continuing our jihad," and that AQAP would attack military posts that "cooperate with the American drones by spying, planting chips, providing or offering intelligence advice."