A Yemeni security official says Said Kouachi, one of the brothers involved in the deadly attack against a Paris newspaper, is suspected of having fought for al-Qaida in the country.

Another senior security official says Kouachi was in Yemen until 2012.

Both officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of an ongoing investigation into Kouachi's stay in Yemen.

Kouachi is suspected of joining the militants at the time when Yemen's al-Qaida branch overran entire parts of the south amid the turmoil that engulfed the country during its Arab Spring uprising.

Many foreign students studying Arabic in Yemen were suspected of linking up with militants and were later deported. One of the officials says Kouachi was likely among a group of foreigners deported from Yemen in 2012.