Al Qaeda says U.S. strike kills man who claimed Paris killings

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Drone Kills Al Qaeda Leader Who Claimed Hebdo Attack Credit

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said on Thursday a U.S. air strike had killed the senior figure who issued the group's claim of responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, according to a report.

The SITE Intelligence Group quoted al Qaeda as saying in an online video that AQAP ideologue Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi was killed with his eldest son and other fighters in Yemen.

Ansi's reported death suggests the covert U.S. drone programme against the Yemenbranch of the global militant group is continuing, despite the evacuation of American military advisers from the country amid a worsening civil war.

Ansi, an ideologue and former fighter, had appeared in several of the group's videos. In a message on Jan. 14, he said of the Jan. 7 attack in Paris that the "one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organization", without naming an individual.

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Al Qaeda says U.S. strike kills man who claimed Paris killings
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French police and gendarmes patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of French special forces stands on the roof of a building as a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015 in Dammartin-en-Goele. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
DAMMARTIN EN GOELE, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: A helicopter of the French Special Police Forces looks for the suspects linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 9, 2015 in Dammartin en Goele, France. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
French gendarmes patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
An armed French gendarme patrols in Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Two helicopters fly over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and gendarmes patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired and at least one hostage was taken in the same area police were hunting for two brothers accused of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist assault, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama was underway at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and came 48 hours into a massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and gendarmes patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French police and gendarmes patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group) sit in a helicopter flying over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter of the French Gendarmerie flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
French police patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired and at least one hostage was taken in the same area police were hunting for two brothers accused of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist assault, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama was underway at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and came 48 hours into a massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter of the French Gendarmerie flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where a hostage-taking was underway after police hunting the Islamist brothers who killed 12 people earlier this week exchanged fire with two men during a car chase, on January 9, 2015. Friday's drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine's publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims. The number of people seized was not immediately confirmed. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A Eurocopter EC 145 helicopter of the French gendarmerie flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired and at least one hostage was taken in the same area police were hunting for two brothers accused of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist assault, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama was underway at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and came 48 hours into a massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices on Wednesday. The suspects were holed up in a small printing business named CTD, a source close to the investigation said. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired and at least one hostage was taken in the same area police were hunting for two brothers accused of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist assault, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama was underway at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and came 48 hours into a massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Two helicopters fly over Dammartin-en-Goele where shots were fired and at least one hostage was taken in the same area police were hunting for two brothers accused of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist assault, on January 9, 2015. The hostage drama was underway at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and came 48 hours into a massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
LONGPONT, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: A special forces police officer drives an armored vehicle on January 9, 2015 outside Longpont, France. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONGPONT, FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Police officers stop a car at a check point on January 9, 2015 outside Longpont, France. A huge manhunt for the two suspected gunmen in Wednesday's deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has entered its third day. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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A week later he called for lone-wolf attacks in Western countries like America, Britain, Canada and France, as such operations were "better and more harmful".

In the Paris attack, 17 people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence, including a mass shooting at the weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.

The attackers, two French-born brothers of Algerian origin, singled out the magazine for its publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad. The bloodshed ended on Jan. 9 with a hostage-taking at a Jewish shop in which four hostages and the gunman were killed.

Ansi had also called for Yemeni Sunnis to confront the Houthi militia which has taken over large parts of Yemen since September. Al Qaeda views Houthis as heretics since they belong to a branch of Shi'ite Islam.

SITE cited media as saying Ansi was killed in a drone strike in Mukalla, a city in Yemen's Hadramawt governorate, in April, along with his son and six other fighters.

Ansi had fought in Bosnia in the 1990s and worked for al Qaeda in the Philippines and Afghanistan.

On April 14 AQAP announced that one of its leaders, Ibrahim al-Rubaish, had been killed by a U.S. air strike. Rubaish was a Saudi national released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in 2006.

The United States has poured aid and personnel into Yemen in recent years as part of its war on Islamist militants.

But it withdrew military personnel and pulled out of the al-Anad military base it was using inYemen last month, as Iran-allied Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters advanced, plunging the impoverished country further into chaos.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and William Maclean in Dubai; Editing by Emily Stephensonand Andrew Roche)

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