Seven Detained In ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Terror Attack
In France, security has been tightened as a national dragnet for two suspects in the mass shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine appears to be tightening:
Seven people have been detained in the hunt for brothers suspected of gunning down 12 people in an Islamist assault on a satirical weekly, a judicial source said Thursday.
Confirming earlier comments by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, the source, who refused to be named, said men and women close to the two brothers were currently being questioned by police, without saying where they had been detained.
Valls, meanwhile, told RTL radio that the two suspects — who are still on the run — were known to intelligence services and were “no doubt” being followed before Wednesday’s attack.
The masked, black-clad gunmen burst into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday morning, killing some of France’s most outspoken journalists and two policemen, before jumping into a car and escaping.
Police have issued arrest warrants for Cherif Kouachi, 32, a known jihadist convicted in 2008 for involvement in a network sending fighters to Iraq, and his 34-year-old brother Said. Both were born in Paris.
At NBC News, Pete Williams explains the rollback of earlier reports that two suspects were in custody and one was dead:
After a long day of rapidly changing information, U.S. counterterrorism officials said Wednesday night that they cannot be certain of the status of the three suspects in the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine. Information from French sources has been contradictory, they said.
Earlier Wednesday, two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News that one of the suspects in the attack had been killed and that two others were in custody. However, the officials later said the information that was the basis of that account could not be confirmed.
Authorities earlier identified the three men as Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32, French nationals who are brothers, and Hamyd Mourad, 18. Late Wednesday, French police released photos of the brothers and asked for public help in finding them, and French authorities said the youngest of the three suspects had surrendered to police.
Meanwhile, a picture of the two brothers being sought in the shootings has emerged. The ever-subtle Daily Mail describes them as
dope-smoking, rapping, ‘loser’ brothers turned mass killing commandos … radicalised and sent to Yemen to train as killers.
Said Kouachi, 34, and sibling Cherif, 32, are orphans who were brought up in a care home in Brittany, northern France, before turning to a life of crime and then ultimately mass murder.
Cherif’s own lawyer once described him as an ‘apprentice loser’, a hashish smoking pizza delivery driver who didn’t know what to do with his life. A video has also surfaced of him rapping in 2005.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page under the name of Safid Kouachi has been uncovered. It was created in April 2014, and while it cannot be verified, it contains posts relating to radical Islam, along with images of bullets and weapons. …
It has also been revealed today that officers searching the home of Cherif in Gennevilliers have found extremist material, videos by hate preachers, and child pornography, according to Le Point.
And, according to the New York Times, they were on the radar of France’s intelligence apparatus:
When Chérif Kouachi first came to the attention of the French authorities as a possible terrorist a decade ago, he was in his early 20s and, according to testimony during a 2008 Paris trial, had dreamed of attacking Jewish targets in France. Under the influence of a radical Paris preacher, however, he decided that fighting American troops in Iraq presented a better outlet for his commitment to jihad.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kouachi, according to investigators, returned to his original plan of waging holy war in France. Along with his older brother Said and a third French Muslim of North African descent, he was named as one of three who were involved in an assault on a satirical newspaper in Paris that left at least 12 people dead.