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Al-Qaida's Yemen branch threatens Saudis and US, vowing revenge for executions

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CAIRO — The expert bomb-maker from al-Qaida's Yemeni branch has threatened Saudi Arabia and the United States, vowing revenge for the Saudi execution of several militants earlier this month in an audio recording released Monday.

Ibrahim bin Hassan al-Asiri says in a recording released by the group's official media arm that the militants were executed because they fought "Crusaders" occupying the Arabian Peninsula. He vowed to continue battling America and said the Saudis will be dealt with in a "different way," without elaborating.

"By God, we will not let you go as long as there is a pulsing vein in our body," he said, addressing the Americans.

Al-Asiri is believed to have built the sophisticated bombs used in a failed attempt to bring down a U.S. passenger plane and a failed assassination attempt on Saudi Arabia's then-deputy interior minister in 2009.

Saudi Arabia executed 47 people earlier this month, including several al-Qaida militants, in its largest mass execution since 1980.

Al-Qaida carried out a wave of attacks in the kingdom a decade ago targeting security forces and compounds housing foreigners. A sweeping crackdown largely dismantled the group, but some militants later fled to Yemen, where they reconstituted the affiliate, calling it al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

U.S. officials have long viewed the Yemeni branch as al-Qaida's most dangerous affiliate, in part because of al-Asiri's expertise in explosives. AQAP has taken advantage of the civil war in Yemen to expand its reach.

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