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(CNN) -- It's something you don't often hear from the leaders of a terrorist group known for violence: We're sorry.
But that's just what the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said in a video message Sunday, apologizing for a hospital attack in Sanaa earlier this month that left dozens of people dead.
The attackers were directed not to assault the hospital or mosque in an attack against a Yemeni Ministry of Defense compound on December 5, but one fighter made a mistake and attacked the hospital, leader Qassim Al-Raimi says in the video.
"We confess to this mistake and fault. We offer our apologies and condolences to the families of the victims," Raimi said in the video, which was published by al Qaeda media outlet Al-Malahim. "We did not want your lost ones; we did not target them on purpose. This is not of our religion or our morals."
It's unusual to see "such a direct, fast, public apology" from al Qaeda, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said.
"Al Qaeda leaders seem to be waking up to the fact that if they position themselves as the defenders of Muslims, their large-scale killing of Muslim civilians needs to stop," Bergen said.
"We saw what the Yemeni channel broadcast: a gunman entering a hospital . ... We did not order him to do so, and we are not pleased with what he did," Raimi said. "Moreover, it wronged us and pained us, because we do not fight in this manner."
Sunday's apology, though rare, isn't the first time al Qaeda or its affiliates have apologized.
In November, Syrian rebels with al Qaeda ties apologized for mistakenly beheading a wounded rebel fighter after assuming he supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In 2009, an al Qaeda spokesman released a video message offering condolences to "unintended Muslim victims" killed in attacks.
And in 2007, Bergen said, former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden said that Muslim victims killed by al Qaeda in Iraq "are not the intended targets."
Behind the scenes, Bergen said, leaders of the group have expressed concerns about the impact such attacks would have on the group's reputation.
In Sunday's message, Raimi said the group would financially compensate families of victims in the hospital attack.
Wow... ...someone got killed who shouldn't have.
reply to post by Wrabbit2000
Your insinuation is that Al Jazeera is a media mouthpiece for Al-Qaeda, it isn't and what is wrong with an American news channel reporting this? Plenty of others are picking up on the story.
...Syrian rebels with al Qaeda ties apologized for mistakenly beheading a wounded rebel fighter...
reply to post by MALBOSIA
Just because the corrupt mexican government and military let these things go on, it is not mine or your fault, and we know we do not hear of most of it. This world stinks to high hell, and the leaders are the ones pooping on the people (we used to just get peed on in better days gone by) There is only one fix to this and I am not the bad guy here.....