Al-Qaeda in Yemen Claims Responsibility for 'Charlie Hebdo' Attack in YouTube Video

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A representative calls it "vengeance" for the Prophet Muhammad, who is also depicted in cartoon form on the cover of the latest issue of the French satire magazine.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen on Wednesday claimed full responsibility for the attack on French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In an 11-minute video that was posted on YouTube with English subtitles, it said it was a deadly strike for insulting the Prophet Muhammad, Reuters reported.

"As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organization of al Qaeda al Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God," it quoted Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi of the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda as saying in the video.

Read more 'Charlie Hebdo' to Print Record 3 Million Copies With Prophet Muhammad Cartoon on Cover

Late last week, the group in an audio recording had lauded the terrorists as "faithful soldiers of God" who taught France the limits of freedom of speech after insults to the prophets, including Muhammad. But it had stopped short of claiming full responsibility. Devout Muslims regard any depiction of the prophets as heresy.

al-Ansi is a top commander of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch of the group is known. The branch is led by Nasser al-Wuhayshi, according to reports. al-Ansi in the video said that the Paris attack was part of the "implementation" of an order of overall al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has called for strikes by Muslims in the West, Reuters said. It quoted him as adding: "We did it in compliance with the command of Allah and supporting His Messenger, peace be upon Him."

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The video emerged as the weekly edition of Charlie Hebdo, the first since the attack, hit newsstands with a print run of 3 million copies. The cover shows the Prophet Muhammad shedding a tear and holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All Is Forgiven." Global news outlets have been divided over whether to show the cover.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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