Thursday 20 June 2019

Watch: Paris gunman appears in video and declares loyalty to Islamic State

ONE of three gunmen behind the worst militant attacks in France for decades appeared in a video released online today, declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State armed group and urging French Muslims to follow his example.

In the seven-minute video apparently intended for release after the actions, Amedy Coulibaly, who staged the attack on a Jewish deli, said the planned assaults on a satirical journal and a Jewish target were justified by French military interventions overseas.

Hayat Boumeddiene (left) and Amedy Coulibaly - both suspects in the eastern Paris hostage situation
Hayat Boumeddiene (left) and Amedy Coulibaly - both suspects in the eastern Paris hostage situation

A French anti-terrorist police source said there was no doubt it was Coulibaly in the French-language recording.

Seventeen victims were killed in three days of violence that began with an attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly on Wednesday and ended with Friday's dual sieges at a print works outside Paris and a kosher supermarket in the city.

Read more: Paris shootings: France's most wanted woman Hayat Boumeddiene has 'escaped to Syria'

French security forces killed Coulibaly, 32, on Friday after he planted explosives at the Paris deli in a siege that claimed the lives of four hostages. They also shot dead two brothers behind the Hebdo killings, Said and Cherif Kouachi, after they took refuge in the print works.

Hayat Boumeddiene and Amedy Coulibaly (left) and Hayat with crossbow, and in the shot circulated by police
Hayat Boumeddiene and Amedy Coulibaly (left) and Hayat with crossbow, and in the shot circulated by police
Hostages from the Hyper Cacher are led away by French police in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, 9 January 2015. Photo: Vantagenews.co.uk
A still image form video shows an explosion lighting the front of a kosher supermarket as French police special forces launch their assault, where several people were taken hostage near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris January 9, 2015. Two brothers suspected of a bloody attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were killed when police stormed their hideout northeast of Paris on Friday, while a second siege at the supermarket ended with the deaths of four hostages
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9. AFP/Getty Images
Paris
A placard reading "I am Charlie" and candles are placed as a tribute to the victims following a shooting by gunmen at the offices of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, during a candlelight vigil in Abidjian. Reuters
People hold pencils and placards reading "I Am Charlie" (Je Suis Charlie) outside the Consulate of France in Barcelona during a tribute for victims of a terror attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 dead. The two suspects, Said Kouachi and his brother Cherif, were killed Friday when police stormed the building where they were holed up, sources close to the investigation said (Getty Images)
People hold pencils and placards reading "I Am Charlie" (Je Suis Charlie) in front of the Consulate of France in Barcelona (Getty Images)

The Kouachi brothers said they were aligned to al Qaeda, which competes for influence with Islamic State among militant Islamists.

Coulibaly had also called BFM-TV on Friday to claim allegiance to Islamic State, saying he wanted to defend Palestinians and target Jews.

He said in that call that he had jointly planned the attacks with the Kouachi brothers. Police confirmed they were all members of the same Islamist cell in northern Paris.

Read more: Hero who tried to save other hostages and paid with his life

The video showed scenes of man resembling Coulibaly doing physical training and images of an arsenal of weapons and ammunition on the wooden floor of an apartment. He was shown variously in white robes, sitting with a gun at his side, and in combat outfit.

"I pledged allegiance to the Caliph as soon as the caliphate was declared," he says, referring to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose group is an anti-government paramilitary force in both Iraq and Syria that has a growing network of followers elsewhere in the Middle East and Asia.

Coulibaly said he would be working together with the Kouachi brothers: "We've done things a bit together, a bit apart, to try and (achieve) more impact."

Read more: Massive security op as France is ready to mourn its dead

Reuters

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