DUBAI (Reuters) - Islamist militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has condemned the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and called on militants to close ranks to support Palestinians.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In the statement carried by the U.S. SITE monitoring group, the Yemen-based AQAP said Trump's decision was the result of what it said were "normalization steps" between some Gulf Arab countries and Israel.
"It is also a clear challenge to the Muslim world that sees the centrality of the Palestinian cause," the group said. "In the face of this serious events, we stand by our people in Palestine and support them with all we possess."
Addressing Islamist militants, the group called on them to close ranks to be ready to support Palestinians and urged Muslims to help with money and weapons.
"If you do not move, God forbid, then tomorrow the holiest of places and the Muslims' Qiblah, Mecca, will be sold and you will find then no one to defend it," it said.
The AQAP, which was formed in 2009 by the merger of al Qaeda's Saudi and Yemeni branches, is regarded by the United States as one of the most dangerous groups of the network founded by Osama bin Laden.
The United States has repeatedly carried out drone strikes on members and leaders of the group, which makes remote areas in southern Yemen as its main base.
(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba, editing by Angus MacSwan)