Al-Qaeda leader calls new Yemen leader a US agent

May 16, 2012, 08:54 IST | PTI

Al-Qaeda's leader has released a 17-minute audio address aimed at swaying public opinion against Yemen's new president, calling him a US agent and a traitor.

Ayman al-Zawahri attacked President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for serving as vice president during the "corrupt rule" of deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hadi took over from Saleh earlier this year in a US-backed power transfer deal that Washington hoped would allow Yemen to increase operations against al-Qaeda, which seized control of much of the country's south. 

"Out went a (US) agent and in came an agent," al-Zawahri says. The audio was put online yesterday, the same day that Yemen's military announced that US troops were working directly with them in a major offensive against the militant network. 

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