Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Charlie Hebdo

Al Qaeda confirms involvement in attack, one week after shooters told bystanders, victims they were working on the group's behalf.

Tova Dvorin,

Prime suspects: Cherif and Said Kouachi
Prime suspects: Cherif and Said Kouachi
French police

The leader of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) has officially claimed responsibility for last week's attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris on Wednesday, one week after the attackers told bystanders and victims that they were carrying out the attack on the group's behalf. 

AQAP commander Nasr al-Ansi appeared in an 11-minute Internet video to make the announcement, saying that the massacre at Charlie Hebdo was in "vengeance for the prophet [Mohammed]," who the newspaper had satirized in its cartoons.

Al-Ansi say France belongs to the "party of Satan" and warned of more "tragedies and terror."

He added that AQAP "chose the target, laid out the plan and financed the operation."

Last week it was reported that one of the two brothers who carried out the attack on Charlie Hebdo recently spent time in Yemen associating with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemen branch of the group. The other spent time with Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

Charlie Hebdo was targeted by Muslims long before last Wednesday’s attack, due to its publishing of cartoons seen as “insulting” Mohammed.

The magazine’s staff first started receiving death threats in 2006 when they republished cartoons by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, that had triggered violent riots in some Muslim countries.

The offices of the weekly were firebombed by suspected Islamists in 2011 when it published other cartoons making fun of Mohammed, causing no injuries.

As they left the scene of last week’s attack, the two gunmen declared that they had "avenged the Prophet Mohammed".


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