Leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Sheikh Khalid Omar Batarfi in a one-hour Arabic-language video titled: “Questions and Answers Regarding Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, which was released on October 29, 22-days after October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel has approved of the attack, incited Muslims and jihadis in particular to kill citizens of the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, and France, and called for action such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as the best example to deter the US and other Western countries for their support of Israel.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in a report said, in the video, Batarfi answered questions about the significance of Hamas’s attack, his view of Israel’s reaction, the position of the US, Iran, and proxies, and Muslims leaders. He also sent a variety of messages to Muslims, Muslims scholars, and jihadis globally.
The one-hour video opens with footage of “Jewish attacks” on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, followed by select video excerpts of Hamas’s October 7 Hamas pogrom and Israel’s military response to it. An AQAP jihadi chant promising the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine is heard through the segment.
Next, Batarfi appears on camera, in a Yemeni outfit with a traditional Yemeni dagger on his belt, inside a studio, with an image of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the background.
Answering the first question about AQAP’s view of “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, Batarfi joined other spokespeople of Al-Qaeda branches in blessing and supporting the attack. He praised the secrecy surrounding the planning, the element of surprise, and the masterful execution, and commended the “blessed and carefully selected timing, which coincided with the holy Jewish holiday Sukkot”.
Batarfi claimed that the scale of the attack surprised Israel, the Americans, and even Muslims who were overjoyed with the quick collapse of Israeli troops and that such an operation “will inspire the current generation as well as many to follow”.
According to Batarfi, Israel’s “ruthless” reaction to an attack they never expected showcased their “hatred of Muslims” and reflected the amount of “pain” and their “cowardice of the enemy”. He noted that the Jews throughout the history of Islam have always fought from one fortification to another until the Arabian Peninsula was “purged,” adding: “There will come one day where they will not even be able to flee when the Islamic ummah raids them from every gate, a day they see far [from happening], but we see very near, Allah willing”.
Replying to a question about the US and Western parties’ positions on the Israel-Hamas war, Batarfi said: “The position of the US and the West is the same regarding every incident that befalls Muslims, especially Palestine and Gaza. Their position, as always, is to stand with the executioner against the victim. It is a position we have seen repeatedly throughout the years from these unbelievers”. He noted that their support of Israel “proves the weakness and humiliation of the cursed Jewish Zionist entity in Palestine”.
Batarfi continued, talking about the “International Islamic Front for Fighting the Jews and the Crusaders”, which was founded in 1998 by the late Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Batarfi argued that the campaign flowed from the “established truth” that the Jews, the Americans, and the unbeliever West are “two faces of the same coin”. He reiterated Bin Laden’s call to target Americans, saying that without US support, Israel would not have survived among Muslims all these years.
“We call on our Muslim brethren everywhere, in the West and the East, in Muslim and non-Muslim lands, to kill every Jew, American, and British citizen, for by Allah those will never be deterred without similar blessed acts”.
Batarfi argued that AQAP should not be blamed from now on for targeting US interests, claiming such acts lead the ummah towards an unbalanced war. When people see the imbalance people will “witness[ed] the level of arrogance of this usurping, occupying, criminal American enemy, and its approval of the killing of women, children, and unarmed elderly”.
He continued: “There needs to be a deterrent to dissuade these enemies, and there is no better example than the 9/11 attack, and all operations before and after it”.
Asked about his views on Iran and its affiliates regarding the Hamas attack, Batarfi claimed that the element of surprise proved that Iran did not expect, nor had prior knowledge of, Hamas’s plan to attack Israel. He said that Iran “cares less about Palestine and the conditions of Muslims in Palestine and elsewhere, especially if they are Sunnis”, adding that Iran cares only about Iran, and that it is ready to “ally with the devil” for the sake of its own interests:
“We have seen the loud sounds and vague statements made by Iran’s proxies in the region in an attempt to exploit the development in Gaza to their benefit, but with no substantial action”.
According to Batarfi, Lebanese Hizbullah’s activities do not rise to the level of the ongoing developments in Palestine. Meanwhile, Hizbullah’s capabilities surpass those of all Palestinian resistance factions combined, he stated.
He also lambasted the position of other Iran-affiliated groups, who claim to belong to the “resistance”, noting that their activities and promises regarding the situation in Palestine cannot be compared to the decade-long support provided to the Syrian regime, along with the Russian criminal enemy, saying that attacks like Hamas’s “expose them and expose their truth”.
Answering a question about the position of Muslim rulers, Batarfi argued that the attack resulted in lowering their status even more before the people. Just as in previous developments, all these rulers did was issue statements of denunciation, while hinting this time at a “condemnation of Hamas attackers themselves”.
“The statements they make are removed from reality and are unable to enforce real measures against the usurping entity”, he added, noting that they even “stand with enemies against Muslims” and prayed for their removal and installment of other rulers who would “establish an Islamic caliphate on the Prophet’s method”.
Addressing Muslim scholars, Batarfi called on them to undertake their duty and explain to Muslims the reality of “our conflict with the enemies of Allah among the Jews and the Crusaders”, to make clear to them the Salafi principle of the “disavowal of unbelievers”, and to entrench in them the “love of Islam, jihad, and martyrdom for the sake of Allah”.
He continued: “Muslim scholars are duty bound to incite Muslims to disobey and remove their rulers, now that they know their truth. They need to tell Muslims not to enlist their children in these rulers’ armies and therefore serve as soldiers of the Taghut [un-Islamic system]”.
“Prepare yourselves for the upcoming decisive battles”, Batarfi said in a message to the mujahideen everywhere, adding that “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood certainly has its repercussions”.
He continued: “Center your focus these days on the Jews and the Americans everywhere. Sink their vessels, down their planes, raid their barracks, and eliminate every one of their soldiers. Do not spare any barracks or any event without attacking them. This is your duty. Strike them in their own backyard and everywhere. The world today is an arena for Muslims’ operations against Jews, the Americans, British, and French citizens, and all who stood with the Jews and the Crusaders against the Islamic ummah”.
At last, Batarfi addressed all Muslims, saying that the battle with the Jews and the Christians is a “battle of faith”. He noted that people should not be deceived by the argument that the US and Israel should be fought only because they occupy Muslim land and engage in aggression against Muslims.
He argued that the mujahideen should “also fight the US and the Jews because they rejected the message of Allah and encroached on Muslim land and stole its wealth”, adding: “We fight them so that all worship is devoted to Allah alone”.
He continued: “Our fight against them today is defensive jihad, to repel them from our land and our holy sites, before we fight them in offensive jihad later on…The entire ummah is under occupation and under the control of our enemies, both external enemies who attack us in our own land together with internal enemies among the rulers who rule with laws other than Allah’s laws, ally with the unbelievers, and fight Muslims”.
He turned to the wider Muslim world. “Our ummah is under occupation. We must rise up and fight for the sake of Allah. We must get our ummah from the state of loss. This duty is not limited to the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda and other groups, but it is the duty on all Muslims without exception”, he concludes.
The video ends with a jihadi chant over footage of Al-Asa Mosque and surroundings, followed with Osama Bin Laden’s famed words: “The blood of your sons is the blood of our sons, and your blood is our blood […] We will not abandon you until victory or until we taste [death] as it was tasted by [the Prophet Muhammad’s martyred uncle] Hamzah bin ‘Abd Al-Muttallib”.
Meanwhile, in another report MEMRI said, on October 29, 2023, the information bureau of Qais Al-Khazali, secretary-general of the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq, published photos of a meeting between the Iraqi militia leader and a Hamas delegation, held at Al-Khazali’s office in Baghdad.
The Hamas delegation was led by Lebanon-based commander Osama Hamdan, whom the United States has named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and included Muhammad Al-Hafi, a member of the Arab and Islamic Relations Office.
The meeting comes after an October 26 report in the Lebanese Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese daily, Al-Akhbar, claimed that Al-Khazali “opposes” attacks carried out by the so-called “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” on US bases in Iraq and Syria in support of the October 7 Hamas pogrom in Israel.
Al-Khazali’s office spokesperson said that the meeting aimed to “discuss developments of the situation in Gaza”.
According to a post published on the office’s Telegram channel, the Hamas delegation included Hamdan, Al-Hafi, and “the rest of their delegation,” without further names.
The post claimed that the talks largely focused on the fight against Israel, championing the attack, and continuing war.
“Over the meeting, the parties went over the most important developments taking place in the Gaza Strip, the steadfastness of the resistance, and the bravery of its men in confronting the most violent attack carried out by the usurping occupation entity”, using a term to refer to Israel without naming the country.
Speaking in his capacity as a militia leader, Al-Khazali emphasized his support for the Palestinian cause.
“Sheikh Khazali also affirmed the firm position of Iraq in general, and the resistance factions in particular, towards the crucial issues of the Islamic nation, most notably the Palestinian issue”.
Iranian proxy Hamas officials thanked Al-Khazali for his backing.
“At the conclusion of the meeting, the delegation of the Islamic Resistance in Hamas extended its sincere thanks to the sheikh for his support of the issues of the oppressed and resistant peoples, including the Palestinian people, who are patient and mujahid“, using the singular term for mujahideen – guerilla fighters who combat non-Muslim forces.
Hamdan is categorized by the US government as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. He was among six names circulated by Hamas as representatives authorized to conduct appearances in the English-language media.