Screen shot from The New York Times

Al-Qaida’s chapter in Yemen was officially behind the deadly shooting at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris on Jan. 7, at least according to al-Qaida’s chapter in Yemen.

The group released a video Wednesday, a week after the attack at the satirical French newspaper’s office, as The New York Times reported:

Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen formally claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the deadly assault a week ago at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people, saying that the target was chosen by the Qaeda leadership and referring to the attackers as “two heroes of Islam.”

[…] The statement indicated that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was in response to the publication’s frequent caricatures lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.

The attack was ordered by the Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, in keeping with the wishes of his predecessor, Osama bin Laden, the document said.

The Qaeda statement said that “the one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organization.”

The statement and video both said that the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki made the “arrangement” with those who carried out the attack in Paris. It said that Mr. Awlaki, who joined the Qaeda branch in Yemen before being killed by an American drone strike in September 2011, “threatens the West both in his life and after his martyrdom,” a reference to the continuing influence on the Internet of his calls for violent jihad.

Intelligence officials have concluded that the video itself is from Yemen’s al-Qaida branch, but the legitimacy of the content of the video still remains to be determined.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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