Brothers’ past under scrutiny as French manhunt enters day 3

2015-01-09 10:06

Investigators are scrutinising the recent past of two brothers with al-Qaeda sympathies, as a manhunt for the suspects in the newsroom massacre at a satirical French weekly enters its third day.

One of the brothers was convicted of terrorism charges in 2008 and a United States official said the other had travelled to Yemen.

Investigators are trying to determine whether he was looking to join extremist fighters there.

Twelve people died in Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. It was France’s deadliest terror attack in decades.

French officials are holding a crisis meeting this morning.

Police Swat teams late yesterday swarmed a region north of Paris, fearing a second strike by the suspects, who are described in a nationwide notice as “armed and dangerous.”

The fugitive suspects are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s. Police said they were “armed and dangerous”.

United States and European sources close to the investigation said yesterday that one of the brothers, Said Kouachi, was in Yemen in 2011 for a number of months training with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the group’s most active affiliates.

A Yemeni official familiar with the matter said the Yemen government was aware of the possibility of a connection between Said Kouachi and the group, and was looking into any possible links.

US government sources said Said and his brother Cherif were listed in two US security databases, a highly classified database containing information on 1.2 million possible counter-terrorism suspects, called Tide, and the much smaller “no fly” list maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, an interagency unit

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