PARIS — Charlie Hebdo sold out Wednesday across France, with many of the publication's three million issues going within an hour of newsstands opening, according to reports. The front page of the magazine featured a cartoon of Islam's Prophet Mohammad in blatant defiance of the terrorists that attacked them last week.
The Yemeni arm of al-Qa'ida claimed responsibility for the attack that killed eight Charlie Hebdo staffers, saying it ordered the killings because it deemed the publication repeatedly insulted Mohammad. They also said that the terrorist attack was the plan of Ayman al-Zawahri and the late Anwar al-Awlaki, who met with Islamic extremists Cherif and Said Kouachi.
"As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organisation of al-Qa'ida al-Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God," said Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, the group's main ideologue in Yemen.
"This is the first significant foreign fighter case that we have seen where they travel to Yemen and back, trained under al-Awlaki," Mike McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News. "One of the brothers actually funneled fighters to al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which is a precursor to ISIS."
Millions of copies of the "survivors' edition" were printed, dwarfing the usual 60,000 print run. On its cover, a tearful Mohammad holds a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the words "All is forgiven."
Inside, one cartoon showed jihadists saying: "We shouldn't touch Charlie people ... otherwise they will look like martyrs and, once in heaven, these b[-------]s will steal our virgins."
Since the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo has sold out, two million additional copies will be printed for sale.
Reuters contributed to this report.