(CNN) Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Wednesday for last week’s deadly rampage at France’s Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper — and said the attack was years in the making.
AQAP commander Nasr Ibn Ali al-Ansi made the claim in a video, with pictures of the two gunmen — Said and Cherif Kouachi — in the background.
“When the heroes were assigned, they accepted. They promised and fulfilled,” al-Ansi said.
He praised that attack, saying it was revenge for Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
And according to the video, the late Anwar al-Awlaki masterminded the attack before his death in 2011. If true, that means the planning for the massacre started at least three years ago.
The AQAP leader did not claim responsibility for Friday’s siege at a kosher grocery store in Paris, which left four hostages dead.
But “it was a blessing from Allah” that the two attacks took place about the same time, al-Ansi said.
Al-Ansi blamed not only Charlie Hebdo, but also France and the United States in his statement.
“It is France that has shared all of America’s crimes,” al-Ansi added. “It is France that has committed crimes in Mali and the Islamic Maghreb. It is France that supports the annihilation of Muslims in Central Africa in the name of race cleansing.”