Al-Qaida member in Yemen says group directed Paris attack

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Second hostage situation in Eastern Paris
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Al-Qaida member in Yemen says group directed Paris attack
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 09: Pictured in this composite of handout photos provided by the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire on January 9, 2015 are Amedy Coulibaly, aged 32, (L) who is wanted in connection with the shooting of a French policewoman yesterday and suspected as being involved in the ongoing hostage situation at a Kosher store in the Porte de Vincennes area of Paris, and known associate Hayat Boumeddiene, aged 26. France continues at the highest level of security alert following the attack at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in which twelve people were killed on Wednesday. On January 8 French police published photos of two brothers, Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, wanted as suspects over the massacre at the magazine. (Photo by Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police search a man as emergency services tend to the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
French president Francois Hollande (C) bids farewell to French Justice minister Christiane Taubira (R), French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L) and French Prime minister Manuel Valls after holding a crisis meeting, on January 9, 2015 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, after French commandos stormed a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris where assailants were holed up on January 9, freeing several hostages. After several explosions, police stormed the shop in Portes de Vincennes and everal hostages exited the store shortly afterwards and were taken to safety. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: People watch on Avenue Joffre as police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, where two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen on January 9, 2015. Explosions were heard at the site where the hostage drama unfolded at a printing business in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, only 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, journalists reported. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French commandos take up a position on a roof in Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, after an assault was launched at the site where two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama unfolded at a printing business in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, only 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, police sources said. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special forces launch the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. Several hostages were freed after French commandos stormed a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris where an assailant was holed up on January 9. After several explosions, police stormed the shop in Portes de Vincennes and everal hostages exited the store shortly afterwards and were taken to safety. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French special police forces launch the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. Several hostages were freed after French commandos stormed a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris where an assailant was holed up on January 9. After several explosions, police stormed the shop in Portes de Vincennes and everal hostages exited the store shortly afterwards and were taken to safety. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special forces attend to one of their colleagues lying on the ground after they launched the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter of civil security flies over Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, where two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen on January 9, 2015. Explosions were heard at the site where the hostage drama unfolded at a printing business in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, only 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, journalists reported. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Journalists stand in Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, where two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama unfolded at a printing business in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, only 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, police sources said. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
ALTERNATIVE CROP Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages including a child (R) after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09 : French police take security measure around the kosher supermarket at Port de Vincennes where at least five people have been taken hostage by a gunman suspected of being involved in the killing of a French policewoman in southern Paris, French police have said on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09 : French police take security measure around the kosher supermarket at Port de Vincennes where at least five people have been taken hostage by a gunman suspected of being involved in the killing of a French policewoman in southern Paris, French police have said on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09 : French police take security measure around the kosher supermarket at Port de Vincennes where at least five people have been taken hostage by a gunman suspected of being involved in the killing of a French policewoman in southern Paris, French police have said on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Members of the French police special forces launch the assault and evacuate the hostages at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 where at least two people were shot dead on January 9 during a hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, and five people were being held, official sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS SAMSON (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed members of the French riot police (CRS) take up a position at Porte de Vincennes in Paris on January 9, 2015, after at least one person was injured when a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store and took at least five people hostage, sources told AFP. The attacker was suspected of being the same gunman who killed a policewoman in a shooting in Montrouge in southern Paris on January 8. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
An armed police officer stands on the roof of a building in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where the two brothers suspected in a deadly terror attack were cornered, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Two sets of attackers seized hostages and locked down hundreds of French security forces around the capital on Friday, sending the city into fear and turmoil for a third day in a series of linked attacks that began with the deadly newspaper terror attack that left 12 people dead. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Children wait inside the Henri Dunand school before being moved to a safe location to be picked up by their parents in Dammartin-en-Goele, 30 kilometers (19 miles) northeast of Paris, France, Friday Jan. 9, 2015. French security forces struggled with two rapidly developing hostage-taking situations Friday, one northeast of Paris where two terror suspects were holed up with a hostage in a printing plant and the other an attack on a kosher market in Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Members of the French police special force RAID walk on the 'peripherique' (circular road) in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 before taking their positions after at least one person was injured when a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store on January 9 and took at least five people hostage, sources told AFP. The attacker was suspected of being the same gunman who killed a policewoman in a shooting in Montrouge in southern Paris on January 8. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
Police official says man who opened fire in Paris market declares "you know who I am." http://t.co/DM09Qp0QCf
Police officers arrive at a hostage-taking situation at a kosher market in Paris, Friday Jan.9, 2015. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor says a shooting and hostage-taking attack is underway at a kosher market on the eastern edge of Paris. A police official said there are multiple hostages and wounded at the scene. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Police officers arrive at a hostage-taking situation at a kosher market in Paris, Friday Jan. 9, 2015. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor says a shooting and hostage-taking attack is underway at a kosher market on the eastern edge of Paris. A police official said there are multiple hostages and wounded at the scene. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
#Breaking: french police release portrait of susp #Montrouge shooters same of hostage situation #Paris "@prefpolice http://t.co/ZyC2Qh9uzv
#BREAKING At least two killed in hostage drama east of Paris : source #charliehebdo #montrouge http://t.co/xpZbZeGV1d
UPDATE: Police officer shot outside Paris this morning dies http://t.co/OoALEHIyC4 #Montrouge http://t.co/OgAwuVq0rM
BREAKING: Shooting in Paris. Reports #Montrouge shooter involved. #CBCNN more http://t.co/or58AMcrHX (pic @daviddlr) http://t.co/UjjxjvIS9Y
Police link #Montrouge and #CharlieHebdo shootings. Hostage situation ongoing. More LIVE with @cbchh on #CBCNN http://t.co/ilFHTUfAk6
#Montrouge killer south of #Paris knew the Kouachi brothers who attacked #CharlieHebdo https://t.co/748f8ZqCMS http://t.co/eBicTwRX0U
Apperently the shooter was a man from African origin, dark skinned. Some pictures from the scene at #montrouge http://t.co/yvJEuRto5m
A French police officer stands guard outside the Grand Mosque as people arrive for Friday prayers, Paris, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. French security forces struggled with two rapidly developing hostage-taking situations Friday, one northeast of Paris where two terror suspects were holed up with a hostage in a printing plant and the other an attack on a kosher market in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
A French police officer stands guard outside the Grand Mosque as people arrive for Friday prayers, Paris, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. French security forces struggled with two rapidly developing hostage-taking situations Friday, one northeast of Paris where two terror suspects were holed up with a hostage in a printing plant and the other an attack on a kosher market in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Emergency services workers arrive at a hostage-taking situation at a kosher market in Paris, Friday Jan. 9, 2015. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor says a shooting and hostage-taking attack is underway at a kosher market on the eastern edge of Paris. A police official said there are multiple hostages and wounded at the scene. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, center, stops to talk to a couple at a farmer's market as he campaigns in Englewood, N.J., Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach, who wrote "Kosher Sex" and starred in a reality television show, is running for Congress. The Republican is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Pascrell. The district is heavily Democratic. Boteach says he wants to bring Jewish values to politics. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach pauses to answer his phone, as he visits a farmer's market while campaigning in Englewood, N.J., Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach wrote "Kosher Sex" and starred in a reality television show. The Republican is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Pascrell. The district is heavily Democratic. Boteach says he wants to bring Jewish values to politics. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, left, speaks to a man at a farmer's market as he campaigns in Englewood, N.J., Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. "America's Rabbi" Shmuley Boteach wrote "Kosher Sex" and starred in a reality television show. The Republican is running against incumbent Democrat Bill Pascrell. The district is heavily Democratic. Boteach says he wants to bring Jewish values to politics. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize outside a kosher deli during a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people were taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: French emergency doctors evacuate injured hostages during a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people were taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people were taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: A witness called Alexy speaks to the media while police mobilize at the hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police guard a street during a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police guard a street during a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. According to reports at least five people have been taken hostage in a kosher deli in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve speaks to the media after a hostage situation in a kosher deli at Port de Vincennes on January 9, 2015 in Paris, France. Police stormed the kosher deli where at least five people were taken hostage in the Port de Vincennes area of Paris. One gunman is believed to have been killed. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Candles are lit next to a sign reading 'Je suis Charlie' (I am Charlie) in Abidjan on January 9, 2015 during a gathering held by the foreign press association in Ivory Coast to pay tribute to the victims of a deadly attack on the Paris headquarters of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. French elite forces stormed two hostage sites, killing two brothers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre and a third jihadist ally in a fiery end that also claimed the lives of four hostages. AFP PHOTO / SIA KAMBOU (Photo credit should read SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)
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CAIRO (AP) -- Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula directed the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris "as revenge for the honor" of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, a member of the group told The Associated Press on Friday.

At least one of the two brothers involved in the attack travelled to Yemen in 2011 and either received training from or fought alongside the group, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials. A U.S. intelligence assessment described to the AP shows that Said Kouachi was trained in preparation to return home and carry out an attack.

If confirmed, the attack would be the first time al-Qaida's branch in Yemen has successfully carried out an operation in the West after at least two earlier attempts.

"The leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully as revenge for the honor of the prophet," the al-Qaida member said in an English statement. He said France was targeted "because of its obvious role in the war on Islam and oppressed nations."

He warned that "touching Muslims' sanctity and protecting those who make blasphemy have a dear price and the punishment will be severe" and that "the crimes of the Western countries, above them America, Britain and France will backfire deep in their home."

He said the group will continue the policy by al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri of "hitting the snake's head ... until the West retreats." He also cited the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's warnings of the consequences of blasphemy against Muslim sanctities.

The member provided the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized by the group to give his name. The same statement in Arabic was later posted on Twitter by users known to be supporters of AQAP. The member said the group has delayed its official declaration of responsibility for "security reasons."

Paris Terror Attack: U.S. Sees Yemen Al Qaeda Role

Witnesses to Wednesday's assault in Paris said Said Kouachi, the elder of the two brothers who stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices, claimed allegiance to the Yemeni group during the attack. His 32-year-old brother, Cherif Kouachi, was convicted of terrorism charges in 2008 for ties to a network sending jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. The brothers were killed Friday in a gunbattle with French police.

A Yemeni security official said Said Kouachi is believed to have fought with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in 2011 in Abyan province.

At the time, al-Qaida fighters had taken advantage of a security vacuum during an uprising that eventually ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The militants seized several towns and cities in the south of the country. Abyan province was an al-Qaida stronghold from which the group launched attacks against government forces and new offensives to seize more territory.

The second Yemeni official said Kouachi was believed to be among hundreds of foreigners deported in 2012, when the government expelled many foreign students, fearing they were there under the pretext of studying Arabic but were in fact linking up with al-Qaida.

Both officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of an ongoing investigation into Kouachi's stay in Yemen.

U.S. officials believe French authorities knew Kouachi traveled to Yemen, but it's not clear whether they knew what he did there. Still, French authorities placed both Kouachi brothers close surveillance when he returned. The officials believe the brothers led a normal life for long enough that the French began to view them as less of a threat and reduced the surveillance.

A U.S. law enforcement official said both Kouachi brothers had raised enough concern to be placed on the no-fly list. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Previously, al-Qaida's Yemen branch directed the December 2009 attempt to bomb an American passenger jet over Detroit. The would-be bomber, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed the detonate explosives on his body, went to Yemen to prepare for the attack and may have met with radical American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to al-Qaida. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011.

In 2010, the group attempted to send bombs in packages to be delivered to targets in the United States, but the packages were intercepted on flights through Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

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El Deeb reported from Cairo. AP Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian and AP writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report from Washington.

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