Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi Al-Qaeda Yemen Hostages
Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi, a senior military commander of al-Qaida in Yemen is seen in an online video. YouTube

A senior al-Qaeda commander has condemned the practice of beheading hostages for propaganda purposes adopted by rival jihadist group Islamic State (Isis).

Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi, a leading figure with the extremist group's Yemeni branch, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was critical of IS's videotape executions.

"Filming and promoting it among people in the name of Islam and Jihad is a big mistake and not acceptable whatever the justifications are," al-Ansi said in a video interview with a Yemeni journalist. "This is very barbaric."

The footage was posted online after a British-born photojournalist and a South African teacher held as hostages by AQAP were killed by their captors during a botched rescue attempt by US special forces.

However, it appears the video was recorded prior to the incident that cost the lives of Luke Somers and Pierre Korkie.

Eight other hostages, including several Yemeni nationals, an Ethiopian and a Saudi, were rescued in the US operation.

IS, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, has executed prisoners by beheading.

In numerous cases, including those involving Western hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Alan Henning and Peter Kassig, the gruesome killings were filmed and posted online for propaganda purposes.

Four Christian children were reportedly beheaded for not converting to Islam in Iraq in the latest of such incidents, according to one of the only Christian leaders in the country.

Since IS broke ties with al-Qaeda earlier this year, the two groups have been rivalling each other for the world leadership of Jihad.