Militant Islamist organization al Qaeda in Yemen has claimed responsibility for last week's attack on satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo. The news came as copies of the "survivors' edition" sold out in France.
In a video posted on YouTube on Wednesday, the Yemen branch of al Qaeda said the attack was "vengeance" for the French weekly's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, claiming that they "chose the target, laid out the plan and financed the operation" after following orders from general chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The video confirms the suspicions of many politicians including leader of France's Front National Marine Le Pen, who had already laid responsibility for last week's attacks on Islamist extremists.
"We, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the messenger of Allah," said one of the group's leaders, Nasser al-Ansi.
In the 11-minute video, al-Ansi said that France belonged to the "party of Satan" and warned of more "tragedies and terror."
"The heroes were chosen and they answered the call," he added.
Gunmen Cherif and Said Kouachi opened fire on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last Wednesday after they were heard to have shouted, "We have avenged the Prophet."
The attacks, which left 12 journalists and two police officers dead, were thought to have been fueled by depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in the satirical magazine, which it has published on numerous occasions. According to Islam, depicting the Prophet Muhammad is blasphemous
Al Qaeda's announcement on Wednesday followed headlines that Charlie Hebdo had published its first issue since the fatal shootings. Dubbed the "survivors' edition," the cover depicted a weeping bearded man wearing a turban and holding the sign "Je suis Charlie." The image appeared under the headline "Tout est pardonné" (All is forgiven). Copies of the magazine were sold out across France from 10a.m. local time (0900 UTC).
ksb/kms (AFP, Reuters, dpa)