CAIRO (AP) — Yemen’s al-Qaida branch on Wednesday claimed responsibility for last week’s massacre at 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.
In the 11-minute video, al-Ansi says the Charlie Hebdo attack, which killed 12 people — including editors, cartoonists and journalists, as well as two police officers — was in “revenge for the prophet.”
He said AQAP, as the branch is known, “chose the target, laid out the plan and financed the operation” against the weekly, though he produced no evidence to support the claim.
Orders he said, came from al-Qaida’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s successor. The attack on the weekly was the beginning of three days of terror in France that saw 17 people killed before the three Islamic extremist attackers were gunned down by security forces.
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi who carried out the attack on the paper 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 have blown off the dust of disgrace and lit the torch of glory in the darkness of defeat and agony.”
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