Video shows large al Qaeda gathering in Yemen

A new video posted online shows one of the largest gatherings of al Qaeda in years, according to reports.

The 15-minute video has been circulating on jihadist websites and shows the terrorist group's No. 2 leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi. He heads al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which encompasses Yemen. 

Al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing several hundred masked men at an undisclosed location in Yemen who are waving al Qaeda's black flag. The video is dated March 2014.

“The Crusader enemy, dear brothers, still possesses cards which he moves around. We have to remember that we are always fighting the biggest enemy," says a man, whom the video identifies as Wuhayshi.

"We have to remove the cross, (and) the bearer of the cross, America," he continues.


Reuters said it couldn’t independently verify the video’s authenticity, but CNN reported that U.S. officials and global terrorism experts say the video is real.

In the video, al Qaeda members celebrate the arrival of fighters who escaped a Yemen prison in February. Nearly 30 inmates escaped, 19 of whom were jailed for terrorism-related crimes. 

AQAP formed in 2009, and the U.S. has killed several suspected members through drone strikes. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric was one of them. 

Reports say it’s unclear whether the CIA was aware of the gathering, and if it was, some question why a drone strike wasn’t launched on the group. 

The CIA, however, has reportedly made its rules on the legitimacy of drone strikes stricter because of previous instances where officials have mistaken civilians for a group of terrorists.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told CNN on Tuesday that the video indicates al Qaeda has become more aggressive, adding that these meetings happen frequently.

"I think they have these meetings more often than people realize," Rogers said. "It's difficult to get assets in position. You have to know where they are and where they meet at the right time in the right place with the right equipment. That's a lot to do."