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    Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP), is displayed on televisions at an electronics shop in Sanaa January 14, 2015

    Yemen Arrests Two French Suspects for Having Al-Qaeda Links

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    Al-Qaeda in Yemen previously claimed responsibility for the attacks, and one of the perpetrators traveled to the country in 2011.

    MOSCOW, January 17 (Sputnik) – Yemeni officials announced on Saturday that they arrested two French nationals over the past two days for suspected links to al-Qaeda, according to AFP.

    "There are around 1,000 Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen from 11 Arab and non-Arab countries," national security service head General Mohammed al-Ahmadi told AFP.

    According to a video released via YouTube on Wednesday, Charlie Hebdo was attacked for insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, a high-ranking commander of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch is known, stated that the attack was "vengeance" in the 11-minute video.

    He warned that AQAP would unleash more "tragedies and terror" in the future if Western countries did not stop their "insults" and the "spilling [of] our blood," according to the video.

    The AQAP commander called upon Muslim youth in the West to "rise up", saying that the Paris shooting was a "new turning point in the history of confrontation." He referred to the attack as the "Blessed Battle of Paris."

    Cherif Kouachi, who carried out the attack along with his brother, travelled to Yemen in 2011 and might have met with Anwar al-Awlaki, two counter-terrorism officials told ABC News on Thursday.

    Yemeni intelligence authorities have said, that Cherif Kouahi visited the country to be trained by the AQAP terror group, Reuters had earlier reported. The attack was planned years in advance, and financed by the terror group.

    On January 7, Charlie Hebdo's Paris office was attacked by gunmen, who murdered 12 people and injured another 11. Two of the terrorists responsible for the attack were later shot by police after an extensive manhunt, and a third suspect turned himself in.


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