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American-born Imam connects both Paris and Times Square terror plots

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NEW YORK (PIX11) -- The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Counter-Terrorism, John Miller, was quick to acknowledge his concerns about the events in Paris this week.   He noted on Wednesday the military-style attack by the shooters at Charlie Hebdo magazine indicated they were well-trained and precise in the execution of their plot.  Now, we know who influenced the shooters.

A group called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was once run by American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlakihas, has claimed responsibility for the series of terror attacks in France this week, more than three years after al-Awlaki was killed by a CIA drone in Yemen.

Al-Awlaki’s in-person sermons at a Virginia mosque in the early 2000’s inspired two of the 9/11 hijackers.

It was there that he met a U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nidal Hassan, who later executed 13 members of the U.S. military in Fort Hood, Texas.

Now, it turns out, one of the French terror suspects—Said Kouachi—had trained with Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen in 2011 and even met al-Awlaki.

Eyewitnesses to the Paris terror attack this week said before the men started executing their victims, they shouted, “Tell the media that we are from al-Qaeda in the Yemen.”

Nearly five years ago, al-Awlaki’s internet preaching had also impressed a Pakistani immigrant who settled in Connecticut and attended college there.

On May 1, 2010, Faisel Shahzad drove an SUV bomb into Times Square—a vehicle packed with fertilizer, propane, gasoline, and firecrackers.

Shahzad was storing the ingredients at his house garage in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Lucky for tourists, New York City residents, and police—the bomb malfunctioned and the NYPD bomb squad was able to safely defuse it.

Two nights later, federal agents seized Shahzad from a plane that was sitting on the tarmac at JFK Airport in Queens.   He was just about to fly home to his native Pakistan.

In her report, Mary Murphy looks at all the connections between AQAP, terror plots on U.S. soil, and the horrific stand-offs in Paris.