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Tags: Paris attack | Charlie Hebdo | Anwar al-Awlaki | AQAP | US | jihadist

Report: US-Born al-Awlaki Likely Financed Paris Attack

Report: US-Born al-Awlaki Likely Financed Paris Attack
Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki. (Dennis Brack/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 15 January 2015 10:24 AM

Behind the attacks on the satirical French tabloid magazine Charlie Hebdo is an American-born jihadist who some believe likely both inspired and funded the assaults that left 17 people dead last week, The Daily Beast reports.

Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in September 2011 after being hit during a drone strike, was born in New Mexico, but rose to plot against his home nation where authorities aiming to stop future attacks are trying to uncover details about his operation, the Beast said.

Nasr al-Ansi, who now leads al-Awlaki's group, stepped up to claim responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He leads al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

But how fully-involved AQAP might be in the Paris attacks remains unseen as investigators mount a global investigation to thwart any more carnage from radical extremist Islamic groups.

Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attacks, told a French television journalist in a phone call before he died that he was acting on behalf of al-Qaida of Yemen. "I was sent — me, Cherif Kouachi — by al-Qaida of Yemen," he said in a phone call. "I went out there and it was Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me."

Records show that Cherif Kouachi visited the terrorist stronghold nation in 2011, but some investigators think he may have used his brother Said's passport for the trip, the Beast said.

U.S. officials told The New York Times that they believed Said Kouachi trained briefly in Yemen that year "in small arms combat, marksmanship, and other skills that appeared to be on display in videos of the military-style attack" before returning back home to France. He and a host of other impressionable young Muslims were inspired by al-Awlaki, the Times noted.

According to Reuters, Said, 34, met with al-Awlaki while in Yemen. Later, his brother Cherif, 32, spent 18 months in jail after he attempted to visit Iraq more than a decade prior to join up with an Islamist cell there.

"We do not have confirmed information that he was trained by al-Qaida but what was confirmed was that he has met with Awlaki in Shabwa," a source told Reuters.

Whatever the connections to which specific groups, analysts will debate the significance. But more information, the Beast noted, should help untangle the tentacles that lead to what some see as an expansive network growing and plotting around the world. More similar attacks, some say, seem likely.

Noted Rep. Adam Schiff, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, to the Beast: Paris "may very well presage a broader array of potential attacks than we've seen in the past."

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Newsfront
Behind the attacks on the satirical French tabloid magazine Charlie Hebdo is an American-born jihadist who some believe likely both inspired and funded the assaults that left 17 people dead last week, The Daily Beast reports.
Paris attack, Charlie Hebdo, Anwar al-Awlaki, AQAP, US, jihadist
441
2015-24-15
Thursday, 15 January 2015 10:24 AM
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