In Brief

Al-Qa’eda releases Isis ‘blooper reel’

Leaked propaganda video footage shows Islamic State fighter in Yemen fluffing his lines

Al-Qa’eda has released outtakes from an Islamic State propaganda video in an apparent attempt to embarrass the rival jihadist organisation.

The blooper reel shows a kneeling fighter stumbling over his lines as he tries to pledge allegiance to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while a noisy bird in the tree above chirps and squawks, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The jihadi, identified as Abu Muhammad al-Adeni, repeatedly refers to notes from his pocket, “while another fighter can be heard telling him to ‘stay calm, keep cool’”, says the newspaper.

The outtakes - which have been drawn comparisons with Chris Morris’s 2010 satirical comedy Four Lions - were cut from a video released by the Yemen branch of Isis in 2017.

But now the unedited version is being viewed worldwide, after being distributed by Hidayah Media Productions, an al-Qa’eda-linked propaganda media outlet, reports the BBC.

It remains unclear how al-Qa’eda got hold of the video - which the miliant group has titled “The Hollywood reality of al-Baghdadi group - Part 2” -  “though some have suggested it could have been handed over by an Isis defector, or taken from an Isis base that was captured by the group”, adds Metro.

Sharing the video on social media, Elizabeth Kendall, a Middle East expert at Oxford University, tweets: “Heroic bird relentlessly drowns out ISIS-Y’s attempt to renew allegiance to the caliph.”

“One of the interesting things for me here is al Qaeda do counter-narratives better than we do, using humour and mockery in a local and very clever way,” she adds.

As Kendall notes, this isn’t the first time that the group has used videos to mock its rivals. In 2016, Hidayah released a video featuring an alleged Isis defector who claimed his former leaders faked footage of battles in propaganda clips and even used soft drink Vimto as fake blood.

The allegations saw a flood of jokes posted online by Isis critics under the hashtag “Vimto Caliphate” in Arabic, according the BBC.

Isis and al-Qa’eda are competing for territory, recruits and ideological influence in Yemen, where both groups are fighting the Shia Iran-backed Houthi militants.

The rivalry came to a head in July 2018, when Isis fighters captured 12 al-Qa’eda members after a confrontation at a checkpoint. Both groups claimed that their rivals had targeted their position in Qifa, in central Bayda province.

Last week, Isis released a video showing an alleged attack on a member of al-Qa’eda, which denied that any of its fighters were harmed in the assault.

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