Yemen Al Qaeda Says Group Directed Paris Attack

A member of the Yemen branch of al-Qaeda said on Friday that it had directed the Paris massacre earlier in the week.

At the same time, the State Department in the U.S. issued a travel warning to all citizens saying a risk of reprisals had increased.

On Friday morning nearly simultaneous raids by police in France killed the two brothers who were behind the deadly attack along with another terrorist.

The two raids were carried out at locations about 25 miles away from one another and killed Said and Cherif Kouachi, as well as a person suspected in the killing of a policewoman who had taken hostages at a grocery store in Paris on behalf of the two brothers.

The third person killed four hostages, according to police and reports on scene.

The member of al-Qaeda provided the statement in English saying the AQAP leadership directed operations and had chosen their target very carefully.

There was no confirmation by an independent source and intelligence officials in the U.S. along with counterterrorism officials say it was very early to conclude who was responsible for the Wednesday massacre that killed 12.

However, prior to the raid on Friday by authorities, Cherif Kouachi spoke to a TV station in France and said he had been sent by the Yemen branch of al-Qaeda and was financed by Anwar al-Awlaki the cleric killed in a 2011 Yemen airstrike.

The State Department warning said that attacks against citizens of the U.S. were becoming more prevalent.

It also cited an increase in the risk of reprisals against Western targets because of the coalition led by the U.S. that is bombing the militants from the Islamic State in Iraq as well as Syria.

The warning comes on the heels of the Paris massacre and the attacks by terrorist in Canada and Australia.

If confirmed, the Paris attack would be just the first time the Yemen branch of al-Qaeda successfully carried an operation out in the West following two attempts earlier.

The member of al-Qaeda said Wednesday’s attack followed warnings from Osama bin Laden the late leader of al-Qaeda to Western nations about consequence of persistent blasphemy against sanctities that are Muslim.

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