World Bulletin/News Desk
France remained on tenterhooks Saturday as authorities searched for suspects related to three slain gunmen who murdered 17 people, including leading cartoonists, civilians and police officers in deadly violence in and around Paris.
One of the main suspects is Hayat Boumediene, a woman said to be on the run and closely related to one of the attackers who killed four hostages at a supermarket in Paris.
Three suspected gunmen, involved in the worst terror attacks France saw in decades, were killed Friday, according to authorities.
“Said Kouachi, 34, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Amedy Coulibaly, 32 are killed in the two operations," Paris prosecutor Francois Mollins told a press conference in the city Friday.
According to the French daily Le Monde, Paris Prosecutor Francois Mollins said Boumediene was only 26 and once worked as a cashier. She is suspected of helping plan the deadly attacks in the country.
Le Monde reported that the slain attacker Coulibaly got married to Hayat Boumediene at a religious ceremony, which was not recognized as legal by the state.
Mollins also said that 16 people were taken into custody in the investigation, including the wife of another slain gunman Cherif Kouachi.
The Paris prosecutor confirmed media reports that the brothers and Coulibaly were associates, and said an examination of telephone conversations of the suspects revealed that Cherif’s wife, Izzana Hamyd, made more than 500 calls in 2014 to Boumednine.
Mollins said the figure demonstrated “consistent and sustained ties between the two couples."
Le Monde also said police records showed that "the wives of the three gunmen have frequently exchanged visits during 2010."
Police on Friday published photos of Coulibaly and Boumediene in connection with the killing of 27-year-old police officer Clarissa Jean-Philipp in Montrouge a day earlier. Boumediene then was described as "armed and dangerous."
On Friday evening, French special forces and police converged on two separate hostage scenes – one at a printing business in a village just north of Paris and the other at a kosher supermarket in the French capital.
In the village of Dammartin-en-Goele, 25 miles northeast of Paris (42 kilometers), the Kouachi brothers were killed when explosions and gunfire erupted during an operation to end the siege.
The heavily armed French Algerian brothers took refuge inside the print shop after Said was wounded earlier by a police officer during a car chase.
“The Kouachi brother just went out of building and started shooting,” Mollins said. “Members of France's special security force, the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, fired back and threw grenades ... the two gunmen were killed."
In eastern Paris, Coulibaly and four hostages were killed after security forces also moved in on the supermarket where he had been holding more than 12 hostages. Coulibaly threatened to kill the hostages if the siege on the Kouachi brothers had not been lifted.
“Four hostages were killed, and five hostages and three officers were injured – three of them seriously,” said Mollins.
Mollins said that Coulibaly had booby-trapped the supermarket and killed some of the hostages at the beginning of the standoff.
Coulibaly had earlier entered the supermarket in Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris and opened fire.
Cherif and Saïd Kouachi were on the run since Wednesday after 12 people, including some of France's most beloved satirical cartoonists, and two police officers, were killed in an attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris.
French weekly political magazine Le Point reported that it saw documents showing Cherif Kouachi was associated with terrorist groups for years and was an associate of French Algerian Djamel Beghal, who was given a 10-year prison sentence in 2005 for planning an attack against the U.S. embassy in France.
Hours after police killed the three gunmen, President Francois Hollande addressed the nation and urged France to unite and uphold the values of democracy, freedom and pluralism, “Unity is our best weapon," he said.
The staff at Charlie Hebdo said they decided to publish as usual next Wednesday and will print 1 million copies of a special edition.Last Mod: 10 Ocak 2015, 15:52