Al-Qaeda’s Zawahiri ‘ordered’ Paris attack

AQAP leader says al-Qaeda assailants 'were assigned' to attack Charlie Hebdo as vengeance for insulting the Prophet

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Yemen's top al-Qaeda leader on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a bloody attack on a satirical French paper last week in a video message, saying it was "ordered" by al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In a video posted on YouTube, the leader said al-Qaeda assailants "were assigned" to attack Charlie Hebdo as vengeance for insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

"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," said Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi of the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda (AQAP) in the recording.

On Friday, AQAP first announced it directed the attack in Paris “as revenge for the honor” of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad.

A member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) told the Associated Press in an English statement that “the leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully as revenge for the honor of the prophet.”

He said France was targeted “because of its obvious role in the war on Islam and oppressed nations.”

He warned that “touching Muslims’ sanctity and protecting those who make blasphemy have a dear price and the punishment will be severe” and that “the crimes of the Western countries, above them America, Britain and France will backfire deep in their home.”

He said the group will continue the policy by al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri of “hitting the snake’s head ... until the West retreats.” He also cited the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s warnings of the consequences of blasphemy against Muslim sanctities.

The member provided the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized by the group to give his name.


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