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The leader of Nigeria's brutal Islamist sect Boko Haram praised the perpetrators of last week's Paris terror attacks in a video posted online Wednesday. The video, verified by jihadi monitoring group Flashpoint Intelligence, featured an animated eight-minute speech from Abubakar Shekau, the little-known figure believed to be the group's commander. He said the group was pleased by the attacks.
The footage was posted hours after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published its first edition since its offices were attacked. The magazine featured on its cover a tearful Prophet Muhammad holding a "Je Suis Charlie" banner. Shekau warned the magazine to stop insulting the Prophet. Although Boko Haram praised the work of ISIS in Iraq and Syria last July, Wednesday's video represents a rare foray for the group outside of West African affairs and into the world of global terror. "It appears Boko Haram is trying to meddle in the affairs of more international jihad," said Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North Africa research for Flashpoint Intelligence.
"It’s a sign that Boko Haram would like to be part of this much bigger global movement," he added. John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, told NBC News: "This is one of the few occasions I can remember where Boko Haram has commented on events outside West Africa." In a separate video published earlier Wednesday, a top Yemen al Qaeda leader claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The video comes a week after Boko Haram committed what has been described as its "deadliest act," torching at least 10 towns across northeast Nigeria and leaving a reported 2,000 people dead.
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