Wednesday 22 May 2019

Charlie Hebdo gunman Kouachi's guru is trainee nurse at victims' hospital

Press Association

In a bizarre twist, the former spiritual guide to one of the gunmen behind the mass killing at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was working at the same hospital where some of the massacre's victims were taken.

Farid Benyettou, who was convicted in 2008 of being a holy war recruiter, is a trainee nurse at the emergency services of Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, Paris Hospitals' spokeswoman Clemence Remy said.

Benyettou, whose past was known to administrators and whose training is almost over, was taken off the roster as a precaution.

He "never had contact with victims from Charlie Hebdo," Ms Remy said in a brief email.

Benyettou's interest in nursing is a long way from his past role as a hard-core fundamentalist Muslim who pointed his followers toward jihad in Iraq. In 2008, he would receive a six-year sentence for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Among his former students was Cherif Kouachi, one of a pair of brothers who opened fire in and around Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris on Wednesday, killing 12 people. Several more were wounded, and some of the victims were sent to Pitie-Salpetriere. The Kouachi brothers were killed in a stand-off with police northeast of Paris on Friday.

An explosion at Dammartin-en-Goële as French special forces move in on brothers Said (34), and Cherif Kouachi (32)
An explosion at Dammartin-en-Goële as French special forces move in on brothers Said (34), and Cherif Kouachi (32)
The scene outside the Paris grocery store as French special forces prepared to move on the hostage takers
The scene as French special forces stormed the Paris grocery store where a number of hostages were being held
Hostages flee from the Paris grocery store after French special forces moved to end the siege
Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Création Tendance Découverte, a printing business in Dammartin-en-Goële where the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects are holed up
Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann
Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann
Police vans are lined up in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard
A member of the security forces walks inside Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
A French Army helicopter with intervention forces hovers near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE - Tags: CRIME LAW MILITARY)
Gendarmes block the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Police and army forces take positions in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Ambulances arrive in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard
Helicopters with French intervention forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Pascal Rossignol
Police officers control the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Journalists work near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard
A gendarme van is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Police officers investigate a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
A gendarme car is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
A member of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris. Photo: Reuters
Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
An helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Friday Jan. 9, 2015. French security forces swarmed a small industrial town northeast of Paris on Friday in an operation to capture a pair of heavily armed suspects in the deadly storming of a satirical newspaper. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Said (left) and Cherif Kouachi, the Parisian brothers of Algerian descent who are suspected of carrying out the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, in which 12 people were murdered. Photos: PAtwo
French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve (centre) surrounded by National Police Director Jean-Marc Falcone (right) and National Gendarmerie Director Denis Favier delivers a speech as he leaves after a meeting the Elysee Palace in Paris. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
As a tribute for the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack the lights of the Eiffel Tower were turned off for five minutes at 8pm local time

A Facebook message sent to Benyettou wasn't returned. His account was deleted after The Associated Press got in touch. Benyettou's work was first reported by Le Parisien newspaper.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News