Paris shootings: Al-Qaeda threatens more attacks against West after three days of French terror

Branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen said it directed the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices

Heather Saul@heatheranne9
Saturday 10 January 2015 10:28
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages including a child (C) after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages including a child (C) after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris

Al-Qaeda has threatened more attacks against the West after 17 people were killed by gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo offices and at a Jewish grocery store.

The branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed the group directed the attack on the Charlie Hebdo Paris offices, telling the Associated Press: "The leadership of AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully.”

The member told AP the attack was in line with warnings from the late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden about “the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslim sanctities”.

On Friday night, AQAP sharia official Harith al Nadhari released a video message warning the West of fresh attacks, AFP has reported. He said: "It is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely.

“If you refuse but to wage war, then wait for the glad tiding.”

Key members of the French government will meet today to decide on new measures aimed at thwarting a repeat of the attacks in Paris.

The situation began when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and gunned down 12 people. Eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor were killed in the newspaper attack, including the paper's editor.

On Thursday, a gunman police identified as Amedy Coulibaly shot a policewoman to death south of Paris, although authorities were not sure at first if it was related to the Charlie Hebdo shootings. It was later confirmed that he was wanted in connection with the shooting. Police are also hunting Hayat Boumeddiene in connection with the shooting, reported to be his partner, who remains on the run.

The 26-year-old is believed to have been in a relationship with Amedy Coulibaly since 2010

The drama came to an end on Friday when raids were conducted almost simultaneously on the printing plant in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, where the Kouachi brothers were holed up, and the Paris Jewish supermarket where Coulibaly killed four hostages and threatened more bloodshed unless the police let the Kouachis escape.

After the killings at the Charlie Hebdo offices, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and his 34-year-old brother Said led police on a chase around north-eastern France, robbing a petrol station and stealing a car before ending up at the printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, near Charles de Gaulle airport.

One of the brothers was wounded in the neck at one point during a shoot-out with police after he commandeered a car, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Authorities said the brothers temporarily took a man hostage at the print work building but let him go, and a second man was later discovered to have been hiding inside the building.

Moment of explosion at Dammartin en Goele

There were 19 people inside the Jewish store when Coulibaly entered. He killed four people immediately while the others are said to have sought safety in a cold store room in the basement.

Police were able to hear what was happening inside through a telephone left off the hook and seized upon the moment the terrorist knelt down for evening prayers to storm the building in a volley of rapid fire and smoke.

They killed him as he attempted to flee, and the 15 hostages dashed out to freedom.