The leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claims to have directed the terror attacks on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week as “vengeance for the Prophet”.

In a 12-minute video released online, entitled “Vengeance for the Prophet”, Sheikh Nasr bin Ali Alanesi said:

“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. We clarify to the ummah [the Muslim world]that the one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation, is the leadership of the organization. We did it in compliance with the Command of Allah and supporting His Messenger – peace be upon him.”

The cleric went on to warn of continued confrontation between the Muslim world and the disbelievers in the West, and calls for Muslim youth to “rise up” in support of the Prophet to “take vengeance for the Muslim blood that is spilled”.

Alanesi also said that arrangements for the operation were made by US-born radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who is believed to have met the Kouachi brothers at an AQAP training camp in Yemen.

Awlaki was killed by a US drone strike in 2011.

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