A veteran Yemeni reporter has revealed links between one of the suspected assailants involved in the shooting assault on the office of French weekly Charlie Hebdo and a convicted “underwear bomber” in Yemen.
Mohammed al-Kibsi, the Yemeni journalist, said Said Kouachi, one of the two gunmen involved in the Paris killings, once told him he had briefly lived in the same apartment with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, also known as the “underwear bomber,” during a 2009 visit to Yemen, The Associated Press reported.
Kibsi said he had asked Kouachi about his links with Abdulmutallab during a meeting with him in the Yemeni capital Sana’a in 2010.
Abdulmutallab has been convicted of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on the 2009 Christmas Day, using explosives hidden in his underwear.
Asked if Kouachi knew Abdulmutallab, “Surprisingly, he said that, ‘Yes,’ he knew him and that he lived with him in the same residence,” the Yemeni freelance journalist said Monday.
Kouachi and Abdulmutallab were reportedly roommates for around two weeks prior to the botched terror plot on the Northwest Airlines flight.
Last week, US officials said they believe Kouachi had worked with the al-Qaeda terrorist group operating in Yemen and received training there for several months in 2011.
The report comes after a recent wave of terrorist attacks in France which began on January 7 when the office of Charlie Hebdo came under assault by two gunmen. Some 12 people were killed in the incident that left France in huge shock and fear.
Two days later, Kouachi and his brother Cherif, suspected of murdering the journalists, were killed after being cornered at a printing workshop in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele.
In a posthumous video released on Sunday, Amedy Coulibaly, a gunman who killed four hostages in another terror attack at a Paris supermarket on Friday before he was slain by police, claimed he was acting on behalf of the ISIL Takfiri group in coordination with the two brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo.
He said the two brothers were affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist group.