Isis: al-Qaeda branches urge militants to 'stop the infighting' and unite against US-led coalition targeting Islamic State

Analysts say joint statement from two branches is 'unprecedented'

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Two branches of al-Qaeda are urging militant factions to “stop the infighting” and unite in a bid to counter the US led coalition targeting Islamic State (Isis) fighters in the Middle East.

Affiliates al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have released an unprecedented joint statement calling on factions in Iraq and Syria to “stop the infighting between you and stand as one rank against America's campaign and that of its satanic alliance that lies in wait for all of us, to break us stick by stick”, Reuters reports.

The two page statement was released online and comes after al-Qaeda released a statement distancing itself from Isis in February.

AQAP runs in Yemen and Saudi Arabia and has been described as the "most lethal al-Qaeda franchise" by the Council on Foreign Relations. AQIM operates across North Africa.

Isis, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, has fought several rival Islamist groups in Syria including Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's official wing in Syria, that have sought to resist its expansion over the past year. President Barack Obama declared his plans to establish a broad coalition against Isis last week, and world powers meeting in Paris on Monday gave public backing to military action to fight the group in Iraq.

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The branches appealed to militant fighters and their supporters to "stop the campaigns of mutual slander, and direct the honest pens and swords against the head of infidelity, America, and its unjust aggressive alliance."

"In the face of this unjust crusaders' campaign, we have no choice but to stand in front of the hater of Islam and Muslims, the US and its allies, who are the real enemies of the Muslim world," the statement said.

The coalition’s true aim was to fight Muslims, "under the excuse of attacking the Islamic State and destroying it, as they claim", it added.

The statement was dated 11 September, the 13th anniversary of al Qaeda attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York's World Trade Centre, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Additional reporting by Reuters