Al Qaeda in Yemen has claimed responsibility for the carnage at Charlie Hebdo, calling it the “blessed Battle of Paris”.
A video purportedly from the Islamist group, posted online, says it ordered the killings in revenge for caricatures insulting the Prophet Mohammad in the French satirical newspaper.
“As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organisation of al Qaeda al Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God,” said Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP) in the recording.
Ansi, the main ideologue for AQAP, said the “one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organisation”, without naming an individual.
He added without elaborating that the strike was carried out in “implementation” of the order of overall al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, who has called for strikes by Muslims in the West using any means they can find.
He said it was carried out by “heroes of Islam” – a reference to the Kouachi brothers who killed 12 people in the attack.
It was the start of three days of bloodshed in which a total of 17 people in France were killed by Islamist militants.
The video says France belongs to “the party of Satan” and warns that more attacks are on the way.