Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch on Wednesday claimed responsibility for last week’s deadly attack on a Paris satirical newspaper, with one of its top commanders saying the assault was in revenge for the weekly’s publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, considered an insult in Islam.
The claim came in a video posting by Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch is known, which appeared on the group’s Twitter account.
In the 11-minute video, al-Ansi says the assault on Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people including editors, cartoonists and journalists, as well as two police officers was in “revenge for the Prophet.”
The assault was the beginning of three days of terror in France that saw 17 people killed before the perpetrators, three Islamic extremist attackers, were gunned down by security forces.
The two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack were “heroes,” al-Ansi said.
“Congratulations to you, the Nation of Islam, for this revenge that has soothed our pain,” said al-Ansi. “Congratulations to you for these brave men who blew off the dust of disgrace and lit the torch of glory in the darkness of defeat and agony.”
Al-Ansi accused France of belonging to the “party of Satan” and said the European country “shared all of America’s crimes” against Muslims a reference to France’s military offensive in Mali.
- ›Dec. 1, 2007 - Gunmen suspected of belonging to Basque separatist group ETA kill two Spanish policemen working undercover in France.
- ›Jan. 11, 2009 - Arsonists use fire bombs to attack a synagogue near Paris and a place of worship in Strasbourg.
- ›Nov. 10, 2010 - Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux announces the arrest of five French nationals suspected of conspiring to launch a terror attack in France.
- ›November 2011 - A firebomb attack guts the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover.
- ›March 2012 - Mohamed Merah, an al Qaeda-inspired gunman, kills seven people in three separate shootings in Toulouse. Victims included three soldiers of North African origin, a rabbi and his two young children.
- ›December 2014 - A man shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) injures 13 by ramming a vehicle into a crowd in the eastern city of Dijon. Prime Minister Manuel Valls says France has "never before faced such a high threat linked to terrorism".