Al Qaeda Video Says 'Charlie Hebdo' Attack Was Its Doing On The Day The Paper Returns
In an 11-minute video posted online Wednesday, a top leader of Yemen's Al Qaeda branch claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Nasr al-Ansi, a commander of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, called the "blessed battle of Paris" — the massacre that left 12 people dead on Jan. 7 — a "revenge for the Prophet."
Al-Ansi said that organization chose the target, made the plan, and financed the attack, which he called a "new turning point in history of confrontation." He decried Charlie Hebdo, which was on a list of enemies of Al Qaeda, for its continued mockery of the Prophet Muhammed. Al-Ansi praised those responsible for the attack, Cherif and Said Kouachi, as heroes, and said that the Parisian brothers "answered the call."
The leader also criticized Western nations for their support of what he feels is an unbalanced attack on Islam.
We have warned you before about the consequences of these deeds that your governments collude with under the pretext of ‘freedom of press’ or ‘freedom of ideas.’ The freedom that is always tamed except when spreading vile and waging war on Allah and His Messengers and defaming the religion.
The leader warned Western nations that, without change, attacks will continue.
We tell you once again: Stop your insults on our Prophet and sanctities. Stop spilling our blood. Leave our lands. Quit plundering our resources. Otherwise, by Allah, do not expect of us except tragedies and terror.
The Kouachi brothers had previously claimed ties to AQAP, which is considered to be the most dangerous branch of Al Qaeda, but before Wednesday the organization had only quietly come forward. AQAP, which was born out of a merger between the Yemeni and Saudi arms of Al Qaeda in January 2009, has long been suspected of plotting an attack on Western soil. The U.S. has been carrying out continued drone strikes against the organization in Yemen.
The video released the same day that Charlie Hebdo returned to newsstands. The cover of the paper, released exactly a week after the attack, features the Prophet Muhammed with a tear falling. He holds a "Je Suis Charlie" sign, with the headline above him reading "All is forgiven."
The AQAP did not claim responsibility for the Jan. 7 attack on the kosher store, which left four people dead. Al-Ansi did say that Amedy Coulibaly's attack was a gift from God."
Images: Youtube, Getty Images