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Paris grocery attacker 'claims allegiance to IS'

January 11, 2015

A man believed to be Paris grocery attacker has appeared in a posthumously published online video. An overlaid message claims Amedy Coulibaly killed a police officer and attacked a supermarket on behalf of Islamic State.

Amedy Coulibaly
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A video emerged on Sunday apparently showing the gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a French policewoman and four hostages at a Jewish grocery store.

The SITE Intelligence Group, a company that tracks online activity of extremist organizations, said it had verified the authenticity of the seven-minute-long video. The man's identity has yet to be confirmed by official sources.

The man appearing in the video pledges allegiance to Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, leader of the "Islamic State" (IS) jihadi militant group. He also defends the Friday attack on the kosher supermarket, the fatal shooting of a policewoman a day earlier and Wednesday's massacre at the office of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

"The brothers of our team, they did Charlie Hebdo," the man said. "I also went out a bit against the police so that it has more impact. We managed to synchronize to come out at the same time," he says, wearing a camouflage army vest in this section.

"What we have done is completely legitimate given what they have done. If you attack the caliphate, we will attack you."

Paris Geiselnahme jüdischer Supermarkt - Fahndungsfoto Hayat Boumeddiene
Police are seeking Coulilbaly's partner Boumeddiene, who may have fled to Syria before the attacksImage: Photo by Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images

Onscreen message

A text running at the start of the video claims the protagonist is responsible for the attacks on the policewoman and store. He is pictured doing press-ups with an automatic rifle leaning against the wall.

On Sunday, a French prosector linked Coulibaly to a third shooting, on Wednesday, of a jogger who was seriously wounded.

Investigators have been trying to trace Coulibaly's partner, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, who was initially thought to have been with him at the time of the attack. After Coulibaly was fatally shot, French police described Boumeddiene as "armed and dangerous."

Escaped into Syria

However, sources including a Turkish Security official said she had traveled to Turkey on January 2, and was since thought to have slipped away into Syria, possibly pursuing contacts with IS.

"We think she is in Syria at the moment but we do not have any evidence about that. She is most probably not in Turkey," the source said.

Twelve people died in the initial attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, a publication singled out for its publication of cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.

Dozens of world leaders, including Muslim representatives, were in Paris on Sunday to take part in a rally paying tribute to the victims of the attacks.

Charlie Hebdo attackers Cherif and Said Kouachi claimed they were acting on behalf of al-Qaeda in Yemen. Al-Qaeda's leadership has in the past distanced itself from Islamic State, although the extent of overlap between the organizations at ground level remains a source of conjecture.

rc/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)