Paris gunman well-known to anti-terror police

2015-01-08 14:03
Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris. (AP)

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Cherif Kouachi, the 32-year-old gunman being hunted along with older brother Said for the attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, is a jihadist who has been well-known to anti-terror police.

Cherif, who was born on 28 November 1982 in Paris not far from where the attack took place, had already been jailed in 2008 for his role in sending fighters to Iraq.

Sometimes going by the name Abu Issen, he was part of the "Buttes-Chaumont network" that helped send would-be jihadists to join al-Qaeda in Iraq during the US-led invasion in the mid-2000s.

He was arrested just before he was due to fly to Syria and on to Iraq - and was later sentenced to three years in prison, including an 18-month suspended sentence.

Two years later, his name was cited in a police report related to the attempted prison escape of Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, a former member of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) that carried out a spate of bombings and a plane hijacking in France in the 1990s.

Belkacem was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 for a bombing at the Musee D'Orsay rail station in Paris in October 1995 that left 30 injured.

Cherif Kouachi was also suspected of being close to another key French jihadist, Djamel Beghal, who spent 10 years in prison for planning attacks.

They were suspected of participating in militant training programmes together, although charges in this case were dropped against Kouachi.

Armed and dangerous

With a shaved head and sparse goatee in the photo sent out by police, Cherif Kouachi is considered "armed and dangerous".

His brother Said was born on 7 September 1980, also in Paris. His photo shows him with brown eyes, lightly bearded with short brown hair.

Their presumed accomplice, who handed himself into police in north-eastern France was identified as Mourad Hamyd, the 18-year-old step-brother of Cherif Kouachi.

He is suspected of helping the two brothers in the attack, with one witness saying a third man was in the car when they made their getaway.

Hamyd presented himself to police in the town of Charleville-Mezieres "after seeing his name on social networks", a source close to the investigation told AFP.

Several of his school friends had taken to Twitter saying he had been in class with them at the time of the attack, using the hashtag #MouradHamydInnocent.

Read more on:    charlie hebdo  |  france  |  paris shooting
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.