A child holds a pen during a vigil outside the Consulate General of France to pay tribute to the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris
IN PHOTO: A child holds a pen during a vigil outside the Consulate General of France to pay tribute to the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisco, California January 7, 2015. The youngest of three French nationals being sought by police for a suspected Islamist militant attack that killed 12 people at a satirical magazine on Wednesday turned himself in to the police, an official at the Paris prosecutor's office said. The hooded attackers stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for lampooning Islam and other religions, in the most deadly militant attack on French soil in decades. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Al-Qaeda has thanked the gunmen who killed 12 people in Paris. According to them, the terrorists avenged Prophet Muhammad.

An al-Qaeda hit list, which was originally published in 2013, reappeared on Twitter after the Paris shooting. The list [image], which shows images of potential targets of the Middle Eastern militant group, includes the image of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier who has been killed in the attack. Charbonnier's face has a red X on it, indicating that the target is eliminated as planned. The image of the hit list says that the extremist organisation offers "appreciation, greetings and thanks from the Umrah of Islam to those who avenged Prophet Muhammad." "The Dust Will Never Settle Down," says the image which also has "Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam" (Peace Be Upon Him) written in Arabic. When the list appeared on al-Qaeda's leading English-speaking magazine "Inspire," it came under the title "Wanted, dead or alive for crimes against Islam."

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that there are 11 other names on the latest hit list by al-Qaeda. Some of the potential targets have increased security detailing after the terror attack took place in Paris. The al-Qaeda hit list includes Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who had created the image of the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. The list also has Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who has been offered additional protection since the attack. Danish journalist Flemming Rose, Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom Geert Wilders and author Salman Rushdie are also in the hit list. Rushdie apparently offended a part of the Muslim community around the world after his book "The Satanic Verses" had been published in 1989. A fatwa, calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran, was placed on him as the book seemed to have hurt the sentiments of some Muslims.

Rushdie issued a statement after the Paris attack. He called religion a medieval form of unreason. He said that religion, when combined with modern weaponry, becomes a real threat to people's freedoms. "This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today," Rushdie said, "I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity."

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au