The Islamic State (ISIS) has issued a statement, via their official radio outlet, praising brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi for the gruesome attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. ISIS calls the pair “heroes” for killing twelve people, including two police officers, as revenge against the magazine for mocking Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
In a report on Al-Bayan radio, the official station of the Islamic State terrorist group, an announcer issued a short statement praising the “heroes” for engaging in the terrorist act: “Jihadist heroes have killed 12 journalists who worked for the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and wounded more than 10 others, to avenge the Prophet (Mohammed).” As the Daily Mail notes, only eight of the victims were employees of the magazine, though French police have also long been targets of jihadist groups.
In addition to the official statement, several freelance declarations of support for the brothers have surfaced on various media. The New York Daily News reports that one Islamic State fighter, identified as Abu Mussab, told Reuters that he was proud of “the lions of Islam.” Speaking to Reuters from a part of Islamic State-held Syria, he said, “These are our lions. It’s the first drops – more will follow.”
In what appears to be another vigilante Islamic State effort, hackers claiming to be affiliated with–or at least supporters of–the terrorist group have hacked a number of French websites in celebration of the attack. Business Insider reports that the hackers have targeted official websites of various towns in France, posting messages such as, “The Islamic Stay Stay Inchallah, Free Palestine, Death To France, Death To Charlie.” The Daily Mirror includes Goussainville, Ezanville, Jouy-le-Moutier, Piscop, and Val D’Oise on the list of towns affected.
ISIS has a history of calling for lone wolf attacks in the West by individuals sympathetic to, but not necessarily official members of, the terrorist organization, and heaped praise upon Sydney terrorist Man Haron Monis for his siege of a chocolatier and coffee shop in Martin Square, the financial center of the capital city.
Notably, multiple Islamic State sources are praising the attack, despite reports that the terrorists orchestrating the Charlie Hebdo attack reportedly identified themselves as members of al-Qaeda. While once a subdivision of the terrorist group, al-Qaeda renounced the Islamic State in spring 2014 for being more loyal to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, than to the al-Qaeda leadership. The groups share a common mission that appears to supersede their organizational differences when such attacks are in question, however. Some have suspected, though, that these terrorists may have also had additional ties to the Islamic State.