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Paris supermarket gunman Coulibaly ‘acted on orders’

AFP | Screen grab of French supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly taken from a propaganda video

Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who killed a policewoman and four shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January, received orders for the killing spree via email, a French media report revealed Tuesday.

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French investigators found an email in Coulibaly’s seized computer that instructed him to “work alone”, “pick the easiest and most certain targets” and “repeat this step several times” before he went on his bloody rampage, according to the BFMTV news channel.

The email was sent to Coulibaly on January 8, the same day he gunned down an unarmed police woman in the Parisian suburb of Montrouge, and a day before he took hostages at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris, BFMTV said.

Coulibaly killed four Jewish customers at the scene before being shot dead in a police assault.

The killings were launched on the heels of the attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris by Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, spurring questions about whether Coulibaly and the two brothers conspired in the wave of terrorism that gripped the French capital for several days.

While the Kouachi brothers claimed links with al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, Coulibaly claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

France has struggled with a series of so-called “lone wolf” terrorist attacks – including one thwarted by passengers onboard a Thalys train in August – carried out by young men with no clear affiliation to, or logistical help from, foreign terror groups.

Look after girlfriend

The message allegedly instructed Coulibaly to pick targets “on the outskirts [of Paris] if there is a problem in the centre” and to film his actions.

BFMTV reported that the sender also suggested that he would look after Coulibaly’s girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene.

The 26-year-old woman is believed to have fled to Syria a few days before the Paris attacks.

The mysterious email to Coulibaly, moved to his computer’s trash folder as instructed, came from an account from a US-based email service, the report said.

The news channel said French officials had contacted intelligence agencies in the United States for help in identifying the person who gave orders to the Frenchman.

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