MS Risk Blog

AQAP claims responsibility for Charlie Hebdo attack

Posted on in France, ISIS, Islamic State, Syria, Terrorism title_rule

On 14 January, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s which killed 12 last week. In a speech by AQAP senior official Nasser bin Ali al Ansi entitled “Vengeance for the Messenger of Allah,” Al Ansi says, “We in the Organization of Qa’idatul Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula claim responsibility for this operation as a vengeance for the Messenger of Allah.”

Al Ansi and AQAP take responsibility for selecting the target, planning and financing the operation. He adds that the operation was under the “order of our general emir, the generous Sheikh Ayman bin Muhammad al Zawahiri.” and the “will” of Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

AQAP had threatened Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier in the past. The editor was named specifically in a poster enclosed in a 2013 issue of Inspire magazine. The poster listed names of individuals wanted, “Dead or Alive For Crimes Against Islam.” Charbonnier, was killed in the attack.

While taking responsibility for attacks on the magazine conducted by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, al Ansi denies any connections to the killings conducted by Ahmed Coulibaly, who conducted an attack at a kosher grocery store in Paris, killing four, including a French police officer. Al Ansi calls it “tawfeeq” (good fortune) that the operation coincided with the attack conducted by Coulibaly.

Al Ansi’s description of the Kouachi brothers is consistent with other evidence. Cherif Kouachi gave an interview to a French tv station while hiding in a printing factory after the Paris attack. He stated, “I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by al Qaeda in Yemen. I went there and Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki financed my trip.”

It is believed that the brothers may have travelled to Yemen and met directly with Awlaki. Some reports have indicated that Cherif, the younger of the brothers, was the aggressor in the attacks. It has also been suggested that the brothers received training and financing from AQAP.

Separately, in an interview with a French television station, Ahmed Coulibaly said he was a member of ISIS. A video posted online after Coulibaly’s death shows him pledging allegiance to the terrorist group and its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Coulibaly claimed no ties to al Qaeda, which has an intense rivalry with ISIS

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