U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein, left, shakes hands with a Yemeni army officer during a visit to Abyan, Yemen, Thursday, June 21, 2012. (Photo: AP)
(TheBlaze/AP) -- Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen has offered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who kills the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa, or an American soldier in the country.
An audio produced by the group's media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, and posted on militant websites Saturday said it offered three kilograms of gold, worth roughly $160,000, for killing the ambassador.
The group also said it will pay 5 million Yemeni riyals ($23,000) to anyone who kills an American soldier inside Yemen.
The offer is purportedly valid for six months.
According to the statement, the bounties were set to "inspire and encourage our Muslim nation for jihad."
In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, Yemeni protestors climb the gate of the U.S. Embassy during a protest purportedly about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in Sanaa, Yemen. (Photo: AP)
Washington considers al-Qaida in Yemen to be the group's most dangerous branch and, particularly after the tragedy in Benghazi, the American Thinker argues that the warning needs to be taken seriously:
As we have learned the hard way, this is no idle threat. Not that al-Qaeda fighters need any more incentive to kill Americans, but the bounty will probably bring foreign mercenaries into the country looking for the reward. In a desperately poor country like Yemen, it may also draw locals into the sweepstakes.
Al-Qaeda overran entire towns and villages in Yemen last year by taking advantage of a security lapse during nationwide protests that eventually ousted the country's longtime ruler. Backed by the U.S. military experts based at a southern air base, Yemen's army was able to regain control of the southern region, but al-Qaida militants continue to launch deadly attacks on security forces that have killed hundreds.
Yemen's government also blames al-Qaida for the killing of several senior military and intelligence officials this year, mainly by gunmen on motorbikes.
Now they have moved Americans up on their list, it seems, and as the American Thinker concludes, "there will be no shortage of assassins to take out our people."
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.