Emails from Paris Kosher store gunman to ‘handler’ revealed

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

Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen behind the January attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket, shared detailed information before the attacks with an unknown individual from abroad, according to French daily Le Monde.


The newspaper reported on Saturday that it was given access to emails recovered by investigators, including exchanges between Amedy Coulibaly, who held up a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on January 9 killing four people, and his supposed “handler”.

Most of these messages were encrypted according to Le Monde, but a few were written “in clear”, giving an insight into the preparations for the attack.

“I’ve got an AK47 with 275 rounds and six Tokarevs [semi-automatic handguns] with 69 rounds,” wrote Coulibaly, just hours after Said and Cherif Kouachi attacked the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo on the morning of January 7, killing 12 people. “I also have three bullet-proof vests, tactical jackets, tear gas grenades and a stun gun”.

According to Le Monde the person who received the message, whom investigators believe may have been outside of France, replied later that day in recognisably idiomatic French “SMS-speak” giving further instructions.

“OK, do what you can, go home and sleep then hide and check [email] address 1 every day,” the message reads. “Further information will come soon regarding friends who will help. Get rid of your SIM card, check address 1, address 2 is finished.”

A final email from the apparent mission controller, sent on January 8 and obtained by BFM TV on October 13, gave further instructions.

“Impossible to find friends [to help], work alone,” the message reads. “If possible track down and work with the ‘Zigots’ [the code name for the Kouachi brothers]. If possible, in your video explain that you gave them the tools in the name of D [for Daesh, the Arabic word for the Islamic State group] and say which weapons you used.”

The Kouachi brothers, in a call to BFMTV hours before they were killed by police breaking a siege at a print works near Paris, said they had acted in the name of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabic Paninsula AQAP.

Cherif had travelled to Yemen in 2011. This claim was backed up later on January 9 in a video posted by AQAP spokesman Nasser Ben Ali Al Anassi.

In his suicide video, Coulibaly said he had acted in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Le Monde reported that the latest revelations “suggest that there may have been a link between the two groups.”

Coulibaly's final message, titled “Salam”, asked his handler to take care of his wife, Hayat Boumedienne: “I want the brother to take care of her under the rules of Islam, and to make sure that she does not find herself alone or in a bad financial situation.

“Above all, I want her to learn Arabic, the Koran and religious science. The most important is her religion and faith, and here she is going to need help. May Allah help you.”

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