(Reuters) – The suspected female accomplice of Islamist militants behind attacks in Paris was in Turkey five days before the killings and crossed into Syria on Jan. 8, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was cited as saying on Monday by state-run Anatolian news agency.
French authorities launched a search for 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene after French anti-terrorist police killed her partner Amedy Coulibaly in storming a Jewish supermarket where he had taken hostages. They described her as armed and dangerous.
Anatolian, on its website, cited Cavusoglu as saying in an interview she had arrived in Istanbul from Madrid on Jan. 2. Turkey had received no request from Paris to deny her access.
“There is footage (of her) at the airport. Later on, she stayed at a hotel with another person and crossed into Syria on January 8. We can tell that based on telephone records,” he said.
Those dates would put Boumeddiene in Turkey before the violence in Paris began, and leaving for Syria while the attackers were still hiding from police.
Coulibaly said he was carrying out the attack in the name of Islamic State, a militant Islamist group that has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Seventeen people, including journalists and policemen, were killed in three days of violence that began with the storming of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jan. 7, and ended with a hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket on Friday when four hostages were killed.
Three gunmen were killed and there was some confusion at first about whether Boumeddiene had been present in the supermarket when police stormed it, and had escaped.