Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has come forward claiming responsibility for the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices that left 12 dead. In a video originally uploaded to YouTube, Yemeni al Qaeda leader Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi heralds brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi as "two heroes of Islam."
As reported by the New York Times, the group (AQAP) claims the killings were carried out in retaliation for Charlie Hebdo's frequent publication of images depicting the Prophet Muhammad, considered blasphemous to many Muslims.
"As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organisation of al-Qaida al Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God," Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi says in the video, as translated by the Guardian.
Police stormed two locations last Friday, killing three gunmen: Cherif and Said Kouachi, who had taken a hostage inside a print shop, and Amedy Coulibaly, who took several people captive in a kosher deli and threatened to kill them if police moved on the Kouachi brothers' location.
From the Times:
The statement by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula called the Kouachi brothers "two heroes of Islam," but it referred to Mr. Coulibaly's actions as a coincidence. The statement did not take responsibility for the actions of Mr. Coulibaly, who, in a video released after his death, said he was a supporter of the Islamic State, a rival to Al Qaeda that is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
A member of AQAP confirmed to the Times that the dual hostage situation "was a result of the friendship between Mr. Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers and not a reflection of common planning between the Qaeda group and the Islamic State."
News outlet have not been able to independently identify the legitimacy of the video, but do point out that both Kouachi brothers had travelled to Yemen in the past—Said trained in the country in 2011.