Al Qaeda Claims ‘Charlie’ Attacks, Vows More Ahead
Originally published in Christian Examiner
From Christians and Muslims to Jews and atheist, religion, race and politics were set aside Sunday, Januart 11, for a momentous act of solidarity as roughly 1.6 million people led by leaders from around the world filled the streets of Paris in honor of the 17 victims killed in terror attacks earlier this week. Across France nearly four million joined the anti-terrorism march.
“Today, Paris is the capital of the world,” said French President Francois Hollande. “Our entire country will rise up toward something better.”
The 1.9 mile march began at the historic Place de la Republique near the offices of the Parisian satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, where Muslim terrorist brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, massacred 12 people Jan. 7.
At the front of the crowds leading the anti-extremism demonstration were the slain victims’ families with numerous world leaders and dignitaries linked arm-in-arm, Sky News reported.
The publication also stated 5 500 police and military personnel were deployed, some along the route of the march, and others at locations around the city including worship buildings and media outlets.
Among the nations represented were Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Palestine. The United States was represented by Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron stood alongside Hollande at the front of the crowd.
Prior to the march, the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video of terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked a Parisian kosher grocery store and killed four hostages Thursday and a policewoman Friday. In the video the gunmen swears his allegiance to the terrorist group, The Guardian reported.
The undeterred demonstrators continued, many carrying the French flag and tributes to the victims of the three attacks which ended Friday when the three gunmen were killed during raids.
CBN News reports that Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch is claiming responsibility for last week’s deadly attacks in Paris.
In a video posted online Nasr al-Ansi, a top leader from the group in the Arabian Peninsula, said the massacre at Charlie Hebdo was in vengeance for its satirical depictions of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed.
He also said that France belongs to the “party of Satan” and warned of more tragedies and terror.
Refusing to be cowed, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renald Luzier said, “The terrorists who attacked us want hatred between people. They also want hatred between the people they believe they are defending.”
In the wake of last week’s attacks, France’s prime minister is demanding tougher anti-terrorism measures.
“France is at war against terrorism, jihadism, and radical Islam,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.
Investigators say the two brothers who massacred the staff at Charlie Hebdo had accomplices because the weapons used in the attacks came from abroad.
Now authorities in several countries are searching for those possible accomplices and the sources of financing.
On Tuesday, authorities in Bulgaria arrested a French citizen who may be linked to the two brothers who attacked the magazine.
But officials believe the girlfriend of the gunman who killed four people at a Jewish supermarket has escaped to join ISIS in Syria.
France remains on its highest alert level this week, and security services in Britain are on high alert in the wake of the killings. New threats have also been aimed at US airports.
Lawyers for Boston Marathon suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnev have also asked a judge to suspend jury selection in the trial for at least a month. They say a delay would allow some time for the extraordinary prejudice following for these events.
Meanwhile, the first edition of Charlie Hebdo since the terror attacks features a picture of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed on the front cover. It sold out at newsstands across France within minutes of going on sale Wednesday.
Victims buried in Israel
Israel’s leaders, including the prime minister, the president and the mayor of Jerusalem, paid their respects to the family and friends of the victims during a state funeral at the Har Hamenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood, reports Breaking Christian News.
“This is not how we wanted you to come to Israel,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in his eulogy. “This is not how we wanted you to come home to Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. We wanted you alive, we wanted you alive.”
During the funeral service, one rabbi read from Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord.”
It reflected the feeling of many who came to honor the four French Jews who lost their lives while shopping at a kosher supermarket in the French capital.
“There is no word. There is no word. I can’t tell you anything. I’m just feeling pain and there’s no word,” an Israeli named Amy, who immigrated from France five years ago, told CBN News. (Photo via Times of Israel)
The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) reported rising anti-Semitism in France and around the world.
“We saw now that we can die because we are Jewish in France and this feeling is really [a] bad feeling. We are really sad for all the Jewish community,” a French Jewess named Eden said. She said she wants to immigrate to Israel soon.
Many believe last week’s terror attacks will accelerate the immigration, known in Hebrew as “aliyah,” of French Jews to Israel.
“I hope every Jew around the world can see the difference between what life is like in the protection or the embrace that they feel in a country that is not promised to them—or traditionally where they fell after the exile of the Jewish people, experienced time and time again for thousands of years, being pushed out of our land,” an Israeli named Shira, who immigrated from America, told CBN News.
“And indeed this [Israel] is our homeland and as much as we can fear the rockets and the random acts of terror, it’s the most safe place because we know we are protected by the government, we are protected by each other and ‘am Yisrael chai [the people of Israel live]!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the land of Israel, the one Jewish state, is the only true hope of the Jewish people. He is calling for the Jews of France and the world to come home.