French hunt for gunman's girlfriend after bloody siege climax

Posted By: PTI
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Paris, Jan 10: French forces were today frantically hunting for the girlfriend of an Islamist gunman as the country mourned 17 dead in three blood-soaked days that shook the nation to its core.

After President Francois Hollande warned the threats facing France "weren't over" and Islamist groups issued chilling warnings of fresh attacks, authorities pursued Hayat Boumeddiene, said to be "armed and dangerous."

Charlie Hebdo

She is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who died yesterday when security forces stormed a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris where he had taken terrified shoppers hostage. He killed four hostages during the siege and called friends from the scene urging them to stage further attacks.

Hollande held an emergency meeting of key ministers early today, hours after a dramatic end to twin sieges that also resulted in the death of two brothers who had killed 12 at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday.

As France's bloodiest week in decades drew to a close, the mood began to turn to one of grim national reflection. President Francois Hollande said he would attend a march of unity in Paris on Sunday expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people as well as the leaders of countries including Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.

Questions were also mounting over how the three men -- brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, and supermarket gunman Coulibaly -- had slipped through the security net after it emerged that all three were known to the intelligence agencies. With fears spreading in the wake of the attack, the US warned of a global threat, telling its citizens to beware of "terrorist actions and violence" all over the world. Hollande, meanwhile, described the attack on the supermarket as an "appalling anti-Semitic act" and said: "These fanatics have nothing to do with the Muslim religion."

The Kouachi brothers were cornered in a printing business in Dammartin-en-Goele outside Paris yesterday after a firefight with police that Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said left Said with a minor neck wound. The brothers took the manager hostage, later releasing him after he helped Said with his wound, while a second man hid beneath a sink upstairs, said Molins. The second man was able to text security forces information from inside the premises, a source said, and survived the assault unharmed. The gunmen had a hefty cache of arms including Molotov cocktails and a loaded rocket-launcher.


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