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Al-Qaida in Yemen said it directed the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris “as revenge for the honor” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
The strike is the first successful strike outside its home territory and the experts assess that it would encourage more such attacks.
At least one of the two brothers involved in the attack on the satirical weekly traveled to Yemen in 2011 and either received training from or fought alongside the group, authorities say. A U.S. intelligence assessment described to the Associated Press shows that 34-year-old Said Kouachi was trained in preparation to return home and carry out an attack.
Formed in 2009 as a merger between the terror group’s Yemeni and Saudi branches, AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) has been blamed for a string of unsuccessful bomb plots against local American targets.
These include a foiled plan to down a Detroit-bound airliner in 2009 using a new type of explosive hidden in the bomber’s underwear, and another attempt a year later to send mail bombs hidden in toner cartridges on planes bound to the U.S. from the Gulf.
Israeli experts told i-HLS that the Yemen branch of Al-Qaida has managed to recruit radical Muslims in many countries in Europe. “They are organized in cells and use internet cafes and prepaid cellular phones to communicate” one of the experts said.
He added that the security forces in Many European countries where these cells are active are not equipped to deal with the threat. “They have fell asleep many years ago and now caught by surprise.”
The experts added that the cells work as “stand alone” units, each getting orders from Yemen. This to protect the entire network in case one cell is uncovered.