A senior leader of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left twelve people dead.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released a video on Wednesday in which Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander, said the attack was retaliation for the magazine’s insults to the prophet Mohammed, according to USA Today.
In the 11-minute video, al-Ansi says that French citizens belong to the “party of Satan” and should expect more “tragedies and terror.”
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Nasr al-Ansi” author_title=”Top commander for AQAP”]
Congratulations to you, the Nation of Islam, for this revenge that has soothed our pain. 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.
AQAP claimed that the Kouachi brothers were fulfilling a task assigned to them, but said that Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who took hostages at the kosher supermarket, was not part of their operation. Coulibaly left a video pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Experts say this is a hint of a troubling rivalry between ISIS and al Qaeda, according to CNN.
Charlie Hebdo became a target for extremists after publishing cartoons of Muhammad, which is forbidden by Islam. This week, Charlie Hebdo published a new issue with a cover featuring a cartoon of Muhammad shedding a tear with a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie)” under a headline that says “Tout Est Pardonne (All is forgiven),” according to the Washington Post.
Some French Muslims and other groups have complained about the choice to immediately publish a new Muhammad caricature over worries of another possible attack.
Before they were killed by police, Cherif and Said Kouachi, who staged the attack on Charlie Hedbo, said they were acting on behalf of al Qaedain Yemen. More than 17 people died in the three days of terror attacks, which ended with two police raids on Friday that killed the brothers and a third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who took hostages at a supermarket in Paris.