Al-Qaeda Offers Rare Public Apology for Assault on a Hospital

Regional commander promises "blood money" for victims' families

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Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty Images

A Yemeni man reacts after viewing the body of a relative at a hospital a day after a suicide attack that targeted the Yemeni Defense Ministry, in the capital Sanaa, on December 6, 2013.

Al-Qaeda’s regional commander for the Arabian Peninsula has offered a rare public apology for an assault on a hospital that killed 52 people.

“We rid ourselves of what our brother did,” Qassim al-Rimi said in a videotaped message posted to militant websites on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. He said that the target of the attack was a Defense Ministry compound in Sanaa, Yemen, and that a stray gunman had stormed into an adjacent hospital against his orders. “We accept full responsibility for what happened in the hospital and will pay blood money for the victims’ families,” al-Rimi said.

Public outrage peaked when horrific surveillance videos of the attack aired on state television.