SANAA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Leader of al-Qaida militants in Yemen declared "holy war" against the Houthi-led northern Shiite rebels, in an audio message posted on the internet by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Friday.
"To our Sunni fellows in northern Yemeni provinces of Saada, Al- Jouf and Amran, we (AQAP) announced jihad (holy war) against Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite advocates," Saeed Ali al-Shihri, deputy leader of the Yemen-based AQAP.
"The jihad against northern Shiites has been declared since the implementation of the AQAP's twin martyred car bombing attacks against convoys of the Shiite rebels' followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26 of the last year," he said.
In the 17-minute audiotape, the Saudi fugitive al-Shihri justified his group's war against the Shiite rebels by claiming that the sectarian-motivated Houthi rebels attacked and displaced many Sunni families in the north.
Last December, the Sunni-devoted AQAP claimed responsibility for twin suicide car bombings against convoys of the Shiite rebels ' followers in northern provinces of Al-Jouf and Saada on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26, 2010, which left over than 90 Shiite followers dead, including the group's Shiite spiritual leader Bader al-Deen al- Houthi.
Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles since 2004 between government troops and rebels. The government has been accusing the rebels of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the Yemeni revolution in 1962 that created the Yemeni republic.