The hackers have released a video and a statement via Twitter condemning the deadly attacks on French publication Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people, including eight journalists, were killed earlier this week.
The clip description says that it is “a message for al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists”, and was uploaded to the group’s Belgian account.
In the released short video, a figure wearing the group’s symbolic Guy Fawkes mask is holding a desk with the hashtag #OpCharlieHebdo – which stands for Operation Charlie Hebdo – featured on screen.
The figure, whose voice is changed says: “We are declaring war against you, the terrorists.”
The group also warned that it will track down and close all accounts on social networks related to terrorists in order to avenge those who have been killed.
This is backed up with a statement entitled “a message to the enemies of freedom of expression” posted to Pastebin, the hacker collective offered their condolences to “the families of the victims of this cowardly and despicable act”.
They write “freedom of expression has suffered inhuman assault … and it is our duty to react”.
Wednesday the three men attacked the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, leaving 10 journalists and two police officers dead.
Two Al-Qaeda-linked siblings suspected in the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Cherif and Said Kouachi, were killed by security forces after they emerged, firing automatic assault rifles, from a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele where they had been cornered earlier on January 9.
“The raid on the Paris market killed 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly moments after the deaths of the Charlie Hebdo suspects,” informs Radio Free Europe. “Coulibaly had threatened to kill his hostages if authorities attacked the besieged Charlie Hebdo suspects.”
The yonger sibling, Hamyd Mourad, 18, turned himself in to police after authorities identified the three men wanted in connection with the attack.
French police spokeswoman Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre revealed to reporters that Mourad walked into a police station about 145 miles northeast of Paris and surrendered. “He introduced himself and was put in custody,” Thibault-Lecuivre told the newspaper.
With one of the gunmen revealing shortly before his death that he was sponsored by the famous terrorist organisation, President Hollande warned that the danger to France – home to the European Union’s biggest communities of both Muslims and Jews – was not over yet.
“These madmen, fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion,” Hollande said in a televised address. “France has not seen the end of the threats it faces.”
An audio recording posted on YouTube attributed to a leader of the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda (AQAP) said the attack in France was prompted by insults to prophets but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Sheikh Hareth al-Nadhari said in the recording, “Some in France have misbehaved with the prophets of God and a group of God’s faithful soldiers taught them how to behave and the limits of freedom of speech.”