DUBAI - The leader of al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing, Nasser al-Wuhayshi, said he would free jailed Islamist militants soon, days after the United States shut missions across the Middle East because of the threat of an attack, possibly from Yemen.
Wuhayshi did not say in his Internet statement how he would free those jailed, but al-Qaida militants staged at least two prison breaks last month.
Intercepted communication between Wuhayshi and Ayman al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qaida, was part of intelligence that prompted the United States to close 19 US embassies and send some staff in Yemen home. Washington has also stepped up drone strikes targeting militants in Yemen.
"We ask God to make us a cause for unlocking your incarceration and relieving your agony," Wuhayshi, head of al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), said in the statement seen on Monday on a website used by Islamists.