Member of Al-Qaeda's Yemen Branch Says Group Directed Terror Attack on French Magazine

A member of al-Qaeda's offshoot branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, told The Associated Press on Friday that the group directed the deadly attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Western intelligence agencies and independent analysts have been looking for links between the group and the two brothers killed Friday near Paris, Said and Chérif Kouachi. Before the Kouachis gunned down 12 people in the bloody Charlie Hebdo attack on Wednesday, one of them yelled "This is al-Qaeda in Yemen," witnesses said.

"The leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully," the AQAP member said in the statement, which was provided to The Associated Press. The member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the attack was in line with Osama bin Laden's warnings about "the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslim sanctities."