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[DUBAI] One of the suspects in the attack against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo studied in Yemen where he attended Al-Qaeda training camps, Yemeni security sources and a classmate said on Friday.
The sources said Said Kouachi appeared at various times between 2009 and 2013 in the troubled Arabian peninsula country, firstly as a student at Sanaa's Al-Iman University, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, and then at Al-Qaeda training camps in south and southeast Yemen.
According to witnesses to Wednesday's attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead, quoted in the French media, one of the two Kouachi brothers suspected of the shootings cried out that Al-Qaeda in Yemen was behind it.
Said Kouachi in 2009 attended Iman University, headed by fundamentalist preacher Abdel Majid al-Zindani whose name figures on a US terror blacklist, a former Yemeni classmate told AFP, declining to be named.
According to US officials, Kouachi was known by French intelligence to have travelled to Yemen in 2011, where he received training from its local affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in small arms combat and marksmanship.
AQAP, formed in January 2009 as a merger of the Yemeni and Saudi branches of Al-Qaeda, is seen by Washington as the jihadist network's most dangerous branch.
The US has launched scores of drone strikes on AQAP targets in Yemen.