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The recent terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical publication known for its scorching vilification of religious symbols and international figures alike, has created a new paradigm shift in France, home to a jihadi community of several hundred members.In addition, at least five attacks have been foiled in France since August last year, according to media reports.Contrary to various threat scenarios linking possible terrorist attacks to fresh returnees from the conflict in Iraq and Syria, the Charlie Hebdo attack was the work of a second generation of jihadis that had been involved in smuggling militants into Iraq over a decade ago. Cherif Kouachi, one of those involved in the Buttes Chaumont network, was sentenced in 2008 to three years in prison for facilitating the transfer of dozens of fighters. Finally, according to recent media reports, Said Kouachi is believed to have trained in Yemen with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group falling under the Al-Qaeda umbrella that is currently at odds with ISIS.The Charlie Hebdo attack thus showcased the evolution of Al-Qaeda over the past decade, through the transformation of the Buttes Chaumont terror cell and its members, among them the Kouachi brothers. From the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to that of Iraq in 2003, the "war on terror" did not destroy Al-Qaeda.
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