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Al-Qaeda-In-Yemen Claims Paris Attack Was "Vengeance", Mocks Western Leaders' "Weakness"

"As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we ... 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 a video recording posted on YouTube. As Reuters reports, this was the first time that a group officially claimed responsibility for the attack. The group also mocked the 'unity' rally in Paris on Sunday, saying the shock on display showed feebleness: "look at how they gathered, rallied and supported each other; strengthening their weakness and dressing their wounds," it said of Western leaders who attended the event.

 

As Bloomberg reports, the top leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

A black flag was featured in the al-Qaeda video, titled “the blessed battle of Paris” and released by its media arm, al Malahem Media.

 

In a video message posted on social media today, Nasr bin Ali Alanesi said the Jan. 7 attack was in response to cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.

 

“Congratulations to you, O Ummah of Islam, for this vengeance,” he said, referring to the worldwide Muslim community. “This is France that has taken part in all of America’s crimes. This is France that has committed crimes in Mali and the Maghreb. This is France that is supporting the extermination of Muslims in central Africa.”

 

The rampage at the magazine by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi left 12 people dead. “We clarify to the ummah that the one who chose the target, laid the plan, financed the operation, and appointed its emir, is the leadership of the organization,” Alanesi said.

And as Reuters additionally notes, AQAP mocked a big solidarity rally in Paris on Sunday for the victims, saying the shock on display showed feebleness.

"Look at how they gathered, rallied and supported each other; strengthening their weakness and dressing their wounds," it said of Western leaders who attended the event.

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The purported claim of responsibility puts a fresh spotlight on a group often cited by Western officials as al Qaeda's most dangerous branch. AQAP has recently focused on fighting enemies at home such as government forces and Shi'ite rebels, but says that it still aims to carry out attacks abroad.