In a pair of dramatic raids that played out simultaneously on live TV, French cops swarmed both a kosher supermarket in Paris and a printing plant on the city’s outskirts Friday, killing three terrorists, including the brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Wednesday.
In addition to killing Cherif and Said Kouachi after the brothers had taken one person hostage at the printing plant, cops killed 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly, who had taken people hostage inside the supermarket in central Paris.
The twin rescue missions followed a two-day manhunt for the Kouachi brothers following the deadliest terrorist attack in Europe in almost a decade. But the Paris region remained on high alert heading into Friday night as authorities searched for additional suspects.
Here’s what we know so far about Coulibaly:
1. 4 Hostages Were Killed in the Supermarket
Several media outlets reported that four hostages were killed inside the supermarket. It wasn’t clear at which point during the crisis they were killed. The New York Times reported that five people were also wounded. The Times, citing a senior French official, said five people were reported to have been freed unharmed.
Reports form France indicated that Coulibaly threatened to kill the hostages inside the market if authorities didn’t release the Kouachi brothers, who cops had cornered at a printing plant in nearby Dammartin-en-Goele.
The rescue missions took place as reports emerged that the Kouachi brothers had been in contact with al-Qaida operatives in Yemen, including American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in 2011.
2. Coulibaly’s Girlfriend Is Still at Large & Is Wanted in Connection With the Killing of a French Police Officer
French police initially released Coulibaly’s name and photo in connection with the murder of policewoman Clarissa Jean-Philippe in Montrouge, just outside of Paris.
Police said Coulibaly’s girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene was also wanted in connection with the killing of Jean-Phillipe.
Boumeddiene was still at large Friday evening after Coulibaly had been killed.
3. Coulibaly Was Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison in 2013
He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 for his involvement in the escape from prison of the Islamist project Ait Ali Belkacem, former member of the Algerian GIA (GIA) sentenced to life imprisonment for the attack on the Train Museum of Orsay in 1995.
It wasn’t immediately clear why he wasn’t in prison.
Right before he was arrested, he had a meeting with then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who held a forum at the French presidential palace of Elysee for disenfranchised young people.
Coulibaly was featured in a newspaper article about the forum, the cover of which is above.
Amédy Coulibaly, alleged killer of Montrouge and prime suspect in the hostage taking place in Vincennes Friday, January 9 , would have gone to the Elysee in 2009 . This is a story of Paris , dated July 15, 2009, entitled “Amedi, 27, Sarkozy meeting this afternoon” that presents the young man. Reportedly, at this meeting, actually on the agenda of the Elysee, Nicolas Sarkozy met with 500 young people selected by their employers to develop training alternately.
A year later in 2010, Coulibaly was arrested by French anti-terrorist forces.
4. Coulibaly Was Part of a Terrorist Network That Sent Radicalized Youths to Iraq
Le JDD further reports that Coulibaly was born Juvisy-sur-Orge in 1982 into a family of 10.
He started into petty crime at a young age with a record that includes theft, narcotics, and armed robbery of a bank. Police estimate he became radicalized in Islam in 2002.
According to the Telegraph, Coulibaly later joined the Buttes-Chaaumont network, whose aim was to recruit radicalized French youths and send them to fight in Iraq in the early 2000s.
The Kouachi brothers were part of the same network, the Telegraph reported.
5. Coulibaly Was an Associate of the Kouachi Brothers
Regarding the Kouachi brothers, the New York Times reported:
Gunshots and explosions were heard late Friday afternoon at the printing plant near Dammartin-en-Goële, outside of Paris, where the two suspects were holding a hostage. Smoke could be seen rising from the building, and it appeared that an assault on the facility had begun after a standoff that had lasted much of the day.
At the kosher supermarket hostage crisis, Coulibaly called for the Kouachi brothers release in return for letting his hostages go.