PARIS, Jan 10 – French police are hunting for a fourth suspect in this week’s Paris terror attacks, after killing three of them yesterday (Jan 9) in near-simultaneous raids.
Authorities have asked the public for help locating Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, believed to be the wife of Amady Coulibaly — the man killed after taking hostages in a kosher grocery in eastern Paris yesterday. Along with Coulibaly, she was already being sought as “armed and dangerous” after the slaying of a policewoman on Jan 8 in Montrouge, a Paris suburb.
The French government is trying to restore calm after its worst terrorist attacks in more than half a century, and to find ways to prevent future assaults. It’s gathering security officials including US Attorney General Eric Holder for meetings in Paris tomorrow — the same day millions of people, joined by the leaders of the UK, Germany and Italy, are set to take to the streets for a “republican march” in solidarity with terror victims.
“We will come out of this stronger,” President Francois Hollande said in a televised address to the nation last night. “We are a free people that won’t give in to pressure, that isn’t afraid.” In all, 17 people were killed in three discrete but connected incidents this week, in addition to the three attackers: 12 in the Jan 7 assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo; the policewoman in Montrouge on Jan 8, and four hostages at the kosher grocery yesterday.
“This is precisely what the intelligence services have been expecting and fearing in recent years, ” Mr John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said on Bloomberg Television. “It’s striking that it has come to pass in a country that I think is probably better prepared to deal with this than just about any other European country.”
France remains on a terrorist alert with added security measures will remain in place, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said today. In central Paris, armed police are standing guard outside media offices and synagogues, many of which cancelled Sabbath services.
The attacks provided a vivid illustration of the risks of acts carried out by home-grown terrorists — all three slain suspects this week were born in France — who have ties to militant groups in the Middle East and Africa. At least one of the two brothers suspected of carrying out the Charlie Hebdo attack, Cherif and Said Kouachi, may have trained with Islamist groups in Yemen, police said.
The assaults threaten to worsen cultural tensions in the country with Europe’s highest proportion of Muslims. The anti-immigration National Front party has gained in recent opinion polls, and its leader Marine Le Pen is likely to be a serious contender in the 2017 presidential election.