Al-Qaida in Yemen confirmed on Wednesday that it executed last week’s lethal attack on a French satirical newspaper to protest against cartoons showing the Prophet Muhammad. It urged for unity among jihadi and promised to carry out more attacks in the West.
A video lasting for 11 minutes was posted on the Twitter account of the group and Nasr al-Ansi, who is al-Qaida’s top commander in Arabian Peninsula, claimed the assault on Charlie Hebdo weekly’s office, where two gunmen murdered 12 people, was done to ‘revenge for the prophet.’
How attack Was Planned
He gave a warning about more future ‘tragedies and terror’ and said that ‘peace and stability will be sought but will be elusive because of the acts of the people practicing martyrdom acts and heroes of lone jihad.’
Al-Ansi claimed AQAP selected the victim, formulated the plan and funded the operation. He stated the controversial cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, who is Yemeni-American, who was murdered in a drone strike carried out by US in September 2011 had planned the attack.
If verified, this would signify the Paris attack has been planned many years earlier. However, Al-Ansi did not produce any evidence to verify his claims, and left unanswered queries over the precise connection between the attackers and the leadership of the militant group in Yemen.
Intelligence officials from the US claimed they did not have any evidence to show that AQAP planned the attack or was aware of it prior to it taking place. The officials, who are not authorized to talk about confidential matters in public, spoke anonymously.
On Friday, a member from AQAP told The Associated Press that the group carried out the attack, but the video was the first claim made officially. The statement was released as Charlie Hebdo rebelliously presented a new issue with the prophet’s picture on the cover and copies sold out before morning all over Paris.
The attack on the magazine was the first operation which was successful, carried out by AQAP outside Yemen. It happened after several unsuccessful attacks on the US. This portrays the Yemeni associate as a very lethal franchise.
Al-Ansi claimed instructions were issued by Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden and is al-Qaida’s top leader. The attack on the paper was the start of three days of horror in France where 17 people were murdered prior to three Islamic extremists being shot down by security agents.
According to al-Ansi, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who are the brothers who attacked the paper, were ‘heroes.’ He congratulated the Islamic nation for the revenge, claiming it had lessened their pain.
He did not claim responsibility to an attack which followed after this on a kosher grocery store. This was carried out by Amedy Coulibaly, a friend to the Kouachis, who on Friday murdered a French policewoman and four hostages.
Coulibaly was shown in a video message two days after dying, pledging loyalty to the Islamic State group, an aggressive rival to al-Qaida and claimed he had carried out work with the Kouachis.
The video for Coulibaly triggered questions on the possibility of the two rival groups working together, who are fighting for resources, recruits and control of the jihadi movement worldwide.