Amedy Coulibaly

Amedy Coulibaly was the pro-ISIS gunman responsible for carrying out the January 9, 2015, kosher supermarket attack in Paris, killing four people. Coulibaly—an associate of Charlie Hebdo attackers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi—began to carry out terror attacks on January 7, when Coulibaly detonated a car bomb in the Villejuif (“Jewish town”) suburb of Paris, and shot and wounded a jogger in eastern Paris.By David Gauthier-Villars and Asa Fitch, “Islamic State Releases Video Calling Grocery Store Gunman Its ‘Soldier,’” Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/video-appears-to-show-paris-kosher-grocery-attack-suspect-coulibaly-swearing-allegiance-to-islamic-state-1420977506;
Fidelma Cook, Lucy Crossley, Tom Kelly, and Claire Duffin, “Hebdo killers in ISIS martyrdom video – as French police discover his massive arms cache and link him to another shooting two days earlier,” Daily Mail (London), January 11, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905302/Calm-stare-Jewish-deli-terrorist-Jihadist-s-ISIS-suicide-video-emerges-confirms-link-Charlie-Hebdo-killers-calls-fellow-vigorous-Muslims-defend-prophet-Mohammed.html.
On January 8, Coulibaly shot and killed a French police officer in southern Paris,“French police officer killed in shooting on edge of Paris,” Fox News, January 8, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/01/08/at-least-1-police-officer-wounded-in-paris-shooting.html. and on January 9, Coulibaly stormed the Hyper Cacher supermarket in eastern Paris.Lewis Smith, “Paris supermarket hostage reveals killer Amedy Coulibaly told him: ‘It’s nothing personal,’” Independent (London), July 8, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-supermarket-hostage-reveals-killer-amedy-coulibaly-told-him-its-nothing-personal-10376266.html. Coulibaly was killed in a shootout with police on the evening of January 9.“Paris Hostage Raid Video: Watch the Moment Police Storm Paris Supermarket,” ABC News, January 9, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVS-a89laMc; Ricky Ben-David, “4 dead as French forces storm kosher supermarket,kill gunman; Charlie Hebdo terrorist brothers also killed,” Times of Israel, January 10, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/terror-onslaught-in-paris/.

Coulibaly began his gun and hostage attack targeting Hyper Cacher just after 12 p.m. on January 9, 2015, charging the store with two AK 47 rifles, two pistols, a knife, and 20 sticks of dynamite.Griff Witte, “In a kosher grocery store in Paris, terror takes a deadly toll,” Washington Post, January 9,2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/paris-kosher-market-seized-in-second-hostage-drama-in-nervous-france/2015/01/09/f171b97e-97ff-11e4-8005-1924ede3e54a_story.html?utm_term=.2d7aacfbb438;
Angus Berwick, “Spanish police arrest man suspected of arming Paris supermarket gunman,” Reuters, April 13, 2016, http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN0XA1JA?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0.
Coulibaly took 16 occupants hostage, while several individuals managed to hide from Coulibaly in a refrigerated cellar.Griff Witte, “In a kosher grocery store in Paris, terror takes a deadly toll,” Washington Post, January 9,2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/paris-kosher-market-seized-in-second-hostage-drama-in-nervous-france/2015/01/09/f171b97e-97ff-11e4-8005-1924ede3e54a_story.html?utm_term=.2d7aacfbb438. Coulibaly captured footage of the attack with a GoPro camera, and demanded that one of the hostages upload the videotape online, as Coulibaly was unable to connect to the store’s WiFi. Coulibaly reportedly asked the hostage who uploaded the video, “Do you understand why I am doing what I am doing here? I am here because the Prophet has given me an order. I am here to stop the war in the Arab countries.”Lewis Smith, “Paris supermarket hostage reveals killer Amedy Coulibaly told him: ‘It’s nothing personal’,” Independent (London), July 8, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-supermarket-hostage-reveals-killer-amedy-coulibaly-told-him-its-nothing-personal-10376266.html.

Coulibaly spoke with the police during the hostage situation, reportedly demanding that they allow the Kouachi brothers—who had carried out the Charlie Hebdo attacks on January 7—to escape their hideout at a printing shop in Dammartin. Coulibaly reportedly told police that he would kill his hostages if police raided the brothers’ hideout.John Lichfield, “Paris attackers interview with French TV station: ‘We are defenders of the Prophet… We took vengeance’, said Charlie Hebdo killer Cherif Kouachi,” Independent (London), January 10, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attackers-gave-interview-to-french-tv-station-we-are-defenders-of-the-prophet-we-took-9969749.html;
Ricky Ben-David, “4 dead as French forces storm kosher supermarket,kill gunman; Charlie Hebdo terrorist brothers also killed,” Times of Israel, January 10, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/terror-onslaught-in-paris/.
At approximately 3 p.m., Coulibaly conducted a phone interview with French news outlet BFM TV, during which he pledged allegiance to ISIS, announced that he had already shot four hostages, and claimed that he had “coordinated [with the Kouachi brothers] from the beginning.”Griff Witte, “In a kosher grocery store in Paris, terror takes a deadly toll,” Washington Post, January 9,2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/paris-kosher-market-seized-in-second-hostage-drama-in-nervous-france/2015/01/09/f171b97e-97ff-11e4-8005-1924ede3e54a_story.html?utm_term=.2d7aacfbb438;
“Paris gunman appears in video, declares loyalty to Islamic State,” Reuters, January 11, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-shooting-video-gunman-idUSKBN0KK0BL20150111;
John Lichfield, “Paris attackers interview with French TV station: ‘We are defenders of the Prophet… We took vengeance’, said Charlie Hebdo killer Cherif Kouachi,” Independent (London), January 10, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attackers-gave-interview-to-french-tv-station-we-are-defenders-of-the-prophet-we-took-9969749.html.

Coulibaly’s attack ended when French counterterrorism forces stormed the market at a few minutes past 6 p.m., shooting guns and firing flares into the supermarket. Coulibaly was shot and killed in the exchange and all remaining hostages were freed. The counterattack took place simultaneously with the counterattack in Dammartin, wherein French police stormed the Kouachi brothers’ hideout, killing the two gunmen.“Paris Hostage Raid Video: Watch the Moment Police Storm Paris Supermarket,” ABC News, January 9, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVS-a89laMc;
Ricky Ben-David, “4 dead as French forces storm kosher supermarket,kill gunman; Charlie Hebdo terrorist brothers also killed,” Times of Israel, January 10, 2015, http://www.timesofisrael.com/terror-onslaught-in-paris/.
On January 10, a video was distributed online showing Coulibaly in a video that he had filmed prior to the attack. In the video, he claimed to be a soldier of ISIS and to have synchronized the attacks with the Kouachi brothers.Fidelma Cook, Lucy Crossley, Tom Kelly, and Claire Duffin, “Hebdo killers in ISIS martyrdom video – as French police discover his massive arms cache and link him to another shooting two days earlier,” Daily Mail (London), January 11, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2905302/Calm-stare-Jewish-deli-terrorist-Jihadist-s-ISIS-suicide-video-emerges-confirms-link-Charlie-Hebdo-killers-calls-fellow-vigorous-Muslims-defend-prophet-Mohammed.html.

In the wake of the Hyper Cacher attack, details emerged regarding Coulibaly’s prior criminal history and radicalization to Islamic extremism. In 2004, Coulibaly was reportedly exposed to radical Islam while imprisoned and living in the cell above al-Qaeda recruiter Djamel Beghal. After his release in 2007, Coulibaly regularly visited Beghal while Beghal was under house arrest in Murat, France, often bringing along funds and guests. Such guests included his spouse Hayat Boumedienne, as well as the future Charlie Hebdo attackers. According to a later interview with Boumedienne, she and Coulibaly had partaken in “crossbow practice” at Beghal’s residence.Bill Gardner and Ben Farmer, “Paris shootings: France’s most wanted woman Hayat Boumedienne has ‘escaped to Syria’,” Telegraph (London), January 10, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11337944/Paris-shootings-Frances-most-wanted-woman-Hayat-Boumeddiene-has-escaped-to-Syria.html.

During their meetings, Beghal, Coulibaly, and the Kouachi brothers reportedly plotted to break Smain Ali Belkacem—convicted for the 1995 Paris metro bombing—out of prison.Carol Kuruvilla and Jaweed Kaleem, “Amedy Coulibaly, Paris Kosher Market Terrorist, Had History Of Ties To Violence,” Huffington Post, January 10, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/amedy-coulibaly-paris-kosher-market_n_6444418.html;
“Paris attacks: Suspects’ profiles,” BBC, January 12, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30722038.
Police monitoring the group arrested the men in May 2010 before they could carry out the prison break.Greg Botelho and Ray Sanchez, “France: Raids kill 3 suspects, including 2 wanted in Charlie Hebdo attack,” CNN, January 21, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/09/europe/charlie-hebdo-paris-shooting/. Coulibaly was convicted for the plot.Carol Kuruvilla and Jaweed Kaleem, “Amedy Coulibaly, Paris Kosher Market Terrorist, Had History Of Ties To Violence,” Huffington Post, January 10, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/amedy-coulibaly-paris-kosher-market_n_6444418.html. Upon searching Coulibaly’s house, police uncovered 240 rounds of Kalashnikov rifle ammunition and a photograph of Djamel Beghal.Greg Botelho and Ray Sanchez, “France: Raids kill 3 suspects, including 2 wanted in Charlie Hebdo attack,” CNN, January 21, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/09/europe/charlie-hebdo-paris-shooting/. The Kouachi brothers were also implicated, but were not charged due to lack of evidence.Carol Kuruvilla and Jaweed Kaleem, “Amedy Coulibaly, Paris Kosher Market Terrorist, Had History Of Ties To Violence,” Huffington Post, January 10, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/amedy-coulibaly-paris-kosher-market_n_6444418.html. In mid-January 2015, reports emerged that Hayat Boumedienne had fled to Syria days before the Charlie Hebdo and supermarket attacks. According to reports, the ISIS-sympathizing couple had trained together before the attacks.Bill Gardner and Ben Farmer, “Paris shootings: France’s most wanted woman Hayat Boumeddiene has ‘escaped to Syria’,” Telegraph (London), January 10, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11337944/Paris-shootings-Frances-most-wanted-woman-Hayat-Boumeddiene-has-escaped-to-Syria.html;
Mallory Shelbourne, “New issue of ‘Dabiq’ features interview with widow of Paris gunman,” Long War Journal, February 13, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/02/new-issue-of-dabiq-features-interview-with-widow-of-paris-gunmen-2.php.

After his death, Coulibaly’s body was to be buried in his parents’ home city of Bamako, Mali, though the Malian government refused the body. He was ultimately buried in the Thiais cemetery outside of Paris, since French law prohibits cities from rejecting grave plots to anyone who lived within its borders.Damien Gayle, “Mali refuses to accept the body of Paris kosher deli terrorist Coulibaly the day before he was due to be buried,” DailyMail, January 22, 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2921536/Mali-refuses-accept-body-Paris-kosher-deli-terrorist-Coulibaly-burial.html;
“Paris attacks: Amedy Coulibaly buried near Paris,” BBC News, January 23, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30949917.

 
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