New Security Realities Revealed by Al-Qaeda's First Western Attack in a Decade

For intelligence officials in Europe and the U.S., keeping track of suspected terrorists has rarely been this difficult

In this file photo Islamic fighters from the al-Qaida group in the Levant, Al-Nusra Front, wave their movement's flag as they parade at the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of Damascus, to denounce Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip, on July 28, 2014.

Photographer: Rami Al-Sayed/AFP via Getty Images

With today's claim of responsibility by al-Qaeda’s leading affiliate for the deadly attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the group founded by Osama bin Laden has now carried out its first successful assault on Western soil in nearly a decade. That matters for reasons far more significant than just marking a grim historical milestone or scoring a bragging-rights victory in the competition among terrorist groups for global sympathizers.

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