26 June 1988|
Villiers-sur-Marne, Paris, France
Tell Abyad, Syria|
10 January 2015 (aged 26)
|Known for||Suspected accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly|
|Criminal status||Wanted by France since January 2015|
(2009–15; his death)
Hayat Boumeddiene (born 26 June 1988) is currently being sought by French police as a suspected accomplice of her common law husband Amedy Coulibaly, who was the main suspect for the Montrouge shooting, in which municipal police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe was shot and killed, and was the hostage-taker and gunman in the Porte de Vincennes siege, in which he killed four hostages and was killed by police.
According to Coulibaly's attorney, she was the more radical of the two. She is currently being sought by French police as a suspected accomplice of Coulibaly, alleged to have helped him commit his attacks. She arrived in Turkey five days before the attacks, was described by newspapers as "France's most wanted woman", and was last tracked on 10 January 2015 to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-controlled border town of Tell Abyad in Syria. Hasna Ait Boulahcen who was killed in the later Paris attacks was a fan of hers and lauded her on Facebook.
She was born into an Algerian family of seven children, in Villiers-sur-Marne in the eastern suburbs of Paris. Her mother died when Boumeddiene was 6. Subsequently she, and some of her six siblings, were taken into foster care. Her father was an infrequent visitor, even more so apparently after he remarried when she was 12, though they are said to have reconciled. She moved often between foster homes because she proved troublesome and violent, and was expelled from foster homes for attacking social workers. An investigative source said she altered her surname in her teenage years to "make it sound more French".
Boumeddiene was employed as a cashier in 2009 when she met Coulibaly in Juvisy-sur-Orge, southeast of Paris. She lost her job that year after insisting on covering herself at work in a head-to-toe niqab. She and Coulibaly lived in Bagneux, a southern suburb of Paris, and were very religious.
In 2010, during four days of questioning after police discovered large amounts of assault rifle ammunition in her flat, Boumeddiene told counter-terrorism officers that she saw some terrorist attacks as justifiable. She said that she and Coulibaly had visited French-Algerian jihadist terrorist Djamel Beghal "for crossbow practice."
Escape and manhunt
According to Spanish authorities, Coulibaly drove her from France to Madrid, Spain, on 31 December 2014, and stayed with her until 2 January 2015. According to Turkish authorities, on 2 January 2015 Boumeddiene flew from Madrid to Istanbul, Turkey, with 23-year-old Mahdi Sabri Belhoucine, a French citizen of North African origin whose brother Mohammed was convicted of terrorism charges in 2010 in France and imprisoned for a year in Villepinte prison, and both had return tickets dated 9 January that they never used. Because of her "suspicious behavior," Turkey's intelligence agency (the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT)) put her under surveillance, following her movements for two days, listening to her cellphone conversations, and tracking her cellphone until she left Turkey. While in Turkey, the two stayed at a hotel in Istanbul in adjoining rooms, according to Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Turkish officials said she and Mahdi Sabri Belhoucine left Istanbul for Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey close to the Syrian border on 4 January. They stayed there four days, during which time Boumeddiene phoned France several times.
Boumeddiene is believed to have then crossed the Syria–Turkey border into Syria with Sabri on 8 January, on the day Coulibaly shot and killed a policewoman, using her car in the attack. Çavuşoğlu said: "We understand this thanks to telephone recordings." The last recorded phone call from her was on 10 January, from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-controlled town of Tell Abyad in Syria, close to the border and directly across it from Akçakale. The New York Times stated that she "is reported to have fled abroad, possibly to Syria to try and join the Islamic State, to which Mr. Coulibaly declared allegiance".
She is currently being sought in connection with having allegedly helped Coulibaly commit his attacks, and has been described by newspapers as "France's most wanted woman". She is described by French police as "armed and extremely dangerous", having trained to use firearms, and is on the run. A French police official said Boumeddiene is part of a terrorist cell of about eight people.
In February 2015, French authorities were investigating whether a woman in a video released 3 February by French-speaking ISIS fighters might be Boumeddiene. The video, titled Blow Up France 2, shows a woman standing next to the ISIS speaker, wearing camouflage clothing and holding a weapon. The Islamic State’s magazine Dabiq praised her in a long interview, and Hasna Aitboulahcen who was killed in the later Paris attacks was a fan of hers and lauded her on Facebook.
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- Cite error: The named reference
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