In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, several jihadist groups have released statements lauding both the murders and the terrorists responsible. Jihadists within al Qaeda’s international network as well as those linked to the Islamic State have commented on the massacre. Several of the statements mentioned below were first obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa, has released two statements praising the assaults. The first, which was released on Twitter via an account affiliated with AQIM, urged other Muslims to follow the examples of the Charlie Hebdo and kosher market attackers. According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, AQIM wrote, “Here are the knights of the Invasion of Paris (the three), who have lit for you the road with their blood once again, so march on their path and trust in your Lord, and declare to the worshipers of the cross and all those who stab your religion and the honor of your Prophet.”
In the second statement, AQIM again praised the terrorists, adding a quote from Osama bin Laden: “It was said to you by Sheikh Osama, may Allah have mercy on him: ‘If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.'”
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a veteran al Qaeda leader in al Murabitoon, a jihadist group that operates in Mali, Niger, and southern Libya, also released a statement commending the Charlie Hebdo attack. According to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, Belmokhtar said, “Two soldiers from the soldiers of Islam, sacrificers [sic] from among the best knights, made France and its soldiers taste humiliation and disgrace in its own home, even in its capital, and in front of its intelligence and it [sic] army, in a heroic, rare operation, where both of our brothers showed strong will and mighty determination.” Belmokhtar attempted to justify the attack by alleging that France has “violated the lands of Muslims in its Crusader, hate-filled invasion of the Azawad region (Northern Mali).”
Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, also joined in by saying, “They made millions of Muslims happy by taking action. Some misguided people claim that freedom of expression was attacked, but that is not the case, and the two heroic people acted accordingly.” On its radio station in Somalia, Shabaab added that the terrorists are “our two brothers [who] were the first to take revenge.”
Vilayat Dagestan, the Dagestani branch of the al Qaeda-linked Caucasus Emirate, also released a statement. According to a translation by SITE, the jihadist group said: “The Media Commission for Vilayat Dagestan congratulates the Islamic Ummah for the revenge by the lions of Islam for their Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and it considers that bloody, heroic attack an act of retaliation for the best among creation, Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”
The spokesman for Jamaat-ul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, has also released several statements on Twitter, according to SITE. Ehsanullah Ehsan, who released the following tweets in English, said, “We r [sic] delighted to hear about attack on evil team of Charlie Hebdo. Any head that thinks about insulting our Prophet PBUH will be beheaded.” Ehsan continued in a later tweet by saying, “We congratulate the organisers [sic] of Paris attack from the bottom of our heart. This is the language that these filthy Kuffar understand.”
The Islamic State, through its daily audio message, lauded the attackers as “heroic jihadists,” according to SITE. The audio message stated that the attackers “killed 12 journalists and wounded ten others working in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, and that was support for our master Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. It is worth noting that this magazine often assaulted the character of the great Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, since 2003. Among those killed were the cartoonists who mocked Islam.”
These jihadist groups join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, in celebrating the massacre. In an audio message released by Harith al Nadhari, an influential official in AQAP, the group lauded the attackers as “mujahideen heroes.” He sought to justify the operation by claiming that France is “among the leaders of disbelief.” [For more on AQAP’s statement, see LWJ report, Senior AQAP official praises Paris attack in new audio message.]
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