The leader of al Qaeda's branch in Yemen blamed President Obama Thursday for the deaths of two hostages killed during a U.S. military raid on the group's compound, as rockets slammed into a shared U.S.-Yemeni air base in retaliation for the raid.
Witnesses said a powerful explosion rocked the al-Annad base early Thursday in the southern province of Lahj. Ambulance rushed to the site and witnesses said they saw bodies being taken to a nearby hospital.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed on its official Twitter account that its militants had fired six grad missiles at the base. In a brief statement, the group said it hit the "American
section" of the base.
U.S. military sources told CBS News' David Martin that no American personnel were injured in the attack -- the officials would not confirm whether any U.S. troops were even at the base on Thursday.
The al-Annad base is where American and European military advisers help Yemen battle AQAP through drone strikes and logistical support. Martin says there are a relatively small number of U.S. Special Operations forces in Yemen, working with the Yemenis.
CBS News terrorism consultant Jere Van Dyk says the al-Annad base is close to the southern city of Aden, and the whole area around it is an AQAP stronghold.
It's also not far the AQAP hideout where slain American photojournalist Luke Somers and South African Pierre Korkie were held by the group before they were killed during the raid by U.S. Navy SEALs early on Dec. 6. The two hostages were fatally shot by a militant as the SEALs approached the compound.
Speaking for the first time since the raid, AQAP leader Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi said in a video message posted online Thursday that he warned the U.S. against a rescue attempt after a first raid in November failed to secure Somers' release.
Al-Ansi accused Obama of showing carelessness for the life of an American citizen. He added that the raid to try and rescue the 33-year-old American, "caused things to go in a completely different way than we wanted."
President Obama said he authorized the raid because U.S. officials believed AQAP was planning to kill Somers.
A video released by the terror group had warned American officials they must comply with its demands -- which AQAP said Washington was aware of but did not iterate in the video -- or Somers would meet his "fate" in 72 hours. That three-day window ended on Saturday, Dec. 6.
The family of Somers, who was born in Britain and held dual U.S.-British citizenship, 온라인카지노
also put a lion's share of the blame for his death on the U.S. government's actions.
>Penny Bearman, Somer's stepmother, and his half-sister Lucy Somers told Britain's the Times they were "quite angry because if there had not been a rescue attempt
he would still be alive."