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Al-Qaeda in Yemen declares France enemy number one

Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP) in a still from a social media website, which purports to show Al Qaeda in Yemen claiming responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack
Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP) in a still from a social media website, which purports to show Al Qaeda in Yemen claiming responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack

The spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) says France has become the top enemy of Islam. AQAP claimed responsibility for the 7 January month’s massacre at Charlie Hebdo earlier this month.

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US intelligence agencies have branded the AQAP, also known as Al-Qaeda in Yemen, as the most dangerous branch of the worldwide Islamist network.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

AQAP ideological chief Ibrahim al-Rubaish said France now surpasses the US as his movement’s enemy number one in a video posted on YouTube on Friday.

Earlier this month a video showed another AQAP leader, Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, claiming responsibility for the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which claimed 12 lives.

The murderers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, claimed to be acting in its name.

Western intelligence says it remains unclear whether AQAP directly orchestrated the attack but it is believed that at least one of the attackers had met Yemeni-American preacher, Anwar al-Awlaki, who later died in a US drone strike in 2011.

Friday’s video called for attacks on the West and singled out France as a target.
France has recently announced a raft of measures to help tackle radicalisation and prevent future attacks.
 

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