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Al-Qaida Leader Claims Group Fought Alongside US-Backed Forces in Yemen

FILE - People shout slogans in support of the Yemen army and security forces in a U.S.-backed campaign against militant network al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in Sana'a, May 21, 2014.

The leader of al-Qaida' branch in Yemen says his militants have often fought alongside Yemeni government factions - remarks that could embarrass the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the impoverished Arab country's Shiite rebels.

Qasim al-Rimi leads the group known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington to be the most dangerous offshoot of the global terror network.

He says al-Qaida militants have on occasion fought alongside Yemeni government factions, including "the Muslim Brotherhood and also our brothers among the sons of tribes" against Yemen's Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

Al-Rimi, who is on the U.S. most-wanted list with a $5 million reward for his capture, spoke to AQAP's media arm al-Malahem on Sunday. He succeeded Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike nearly two years ago.