New evidence uncovered by French authorities investigating the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January has shown communication between killer Amedy Coulibaly and a possible handler in the Islamic State.
Coulibaly received an email communication on 8 January. It arrived just hours after he shot and killed an unarmed police officer in Paris on the same day as the killings at Charlie Hebdo, perpetrated by his close friends Chérif and Saïd Kouachi. The following day, he killed four at a Jewish supermarket, telling the hostages he took that he was a follower of the Islamic State.
France24 reports the contents of the email received by Coulibaly, a 32-year-old of Malian heritage, as released by the French security services. It commanded him to continue his killing spree on the 9th of January this year. Among the specific instructions he received, Coulibaly was told to work alone, to pick “the easiest and most certain targets” on the outskirts of Paris.
By the time the email hit his inbox, Amedy Coulibaly had already attempted to murder a jogger and a street sweeper, shooting at them with one of his two AK-47 rifles, as well as having killed police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe.
Telling Coulibaly to pick his own, easy targets may have been a tactical error for the handler as his supermarket siege ended with his own death at the hands of Paris counter-terror police.
French security services are now scrabbling to determine who exactly was the sender of the email. Although a Syrian ISIS commander is suspected, the email was sent from a fake United States-based address, making identification impossible without the assistance of the American government which has not yet been forthcoming.
The apparently direct communication between Islamic State controllers and their footsoldiers in Europe sheds some light on the motives behind a string of apparent lone-wolf attacks over the past year.
Breitbart London reported last December on the rash of attacks in France with three recorded in as many days, leaving only a temporary lull before the nation was attacked again in January. First of the Islamist attacks was Bertrand Nzohabonayo, screaming “Allahu Akhbar” as he stormed a police station with a knife, seriously injuring three officers before being shot dead. The Islamic State moved quickly to issue a statement congratulating him for “answering the call to action”.
The next day, a driver shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “for the children of Palestine!” ploughed his car through pavement crowds, injuring thirteen – including an eleven year old girl. Terror again struck at a Christmas market the day after where the driver of a white van repeatedly drove his vehicle into groups of shoppers, killing one and injuring a further 11. Again the driver was heard to shout “Allahu Akhbar”, and attempted to commit suicide after his vehicle had ground to a halt.
These attacks came just weeks after the Islamic State released a glossy propaganda video, in French, calling on Muslims living in Western nations to commit Jihad. One of the speakers in the film said:
“Kill them and spit in their faces and run over them with your cars. Do whatever you are able to do in order to humiliate them, for they deserve only this”.
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