French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country. Ahmedy Coulibaly, the terrorists in the deadly Kosher market hostage siege, had made several phone calls about targeting police officers in France.
CNN The alert came amid word that the lone remaining suspect wanted in connection with a terrorism spree — Hayat Boumeddiene — entered Turkey on January 2, a Turkish prime ministry source told CNN Saturday. Turkish police have tracked her movements, according to the source (Allowing her to move freely into Syria, no doubt)
Boumeddiene is believed to have left for Turkey “of course to reach Syria” at the beginning of the year, according to a French source close to the nation’s security services.
A flurry of developments Saturday included claims linking one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers with the so-called underwear bomber, who sought to bring down a plane over Detroit in 2009. The connection has not been confirmed by officials, and French investigators are still trying to piece together the web of connections between three suspects killed Friday as two sieges came to a bloody end.
The country, meanwhile, continues to cope with three days of terror that left 17 people dead; hundreds gathered on the streets for vigils Saturday and hundreds of thousands were expected at massive rallies Sunday, along with heads of state and other dignitaries.
Investigators in France and the United States have been looking for evidence tying the Kouachi brothers to associates in terror networks such as al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate and ISIS. A Yemeni journalist and researcher, Mohammed al-Kibsi, told CNN that he had met and spoken with Said Kouachi in Yemen in 2011 and 2012.
Kouachi, who was studying Arabic grammar, and underwear bomber Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab previously were roommates for one to two weeks in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, living in the same small apartment, al-Kibsi said. Abdulmutallab is serving a life sentence for trying to bring down a Northwest airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with an underwear bomb.
U.S. officials have said Said Kouachi spent several months in Yemen in 2011, receiving weapons training with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Kouachi entered Yemen multiple times with an officially issued visa, a senior Yemeni national security official told CNN.
“Said was not being watched during the duration of his stay in Yemen because he was not on the watch list,” said the official, adding that, at the time, Yemen’s western allies had not raised concerns about Kouachi. The official did not specify when the visits took place.
While Said Kouachi is suspected of links to al Qaeda in Yemen, Cherif Kouachi has a long history of jihad and anti-Semitism, according to documents obtained by CNN. In a 400-page court record, he is described as wanting to go to Iraq through Syria “to go and combat the Americans.”
Cherif Kouachi was a close associate of Coulibaly, a Western intelligence source told CNN. A man claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly, the hostage-taker at the Paris grocery store, told CNN affiliate BFMTV that he belonged to the Islamist militant group ISIS.
Former Al-qaeda spy says Paris attackers could have been part of the same Sleeper Cell.
IB Times A former al Qaeda associate who spied on the group for Western intelligence agencies said that the men responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre could have been a “sleeper cell,” that spent years preparing for the attack.
“What I can say from my experience … is that these people here have managed to deceive French intelligence to believe that, while they were once extremists, they no longer were,” Morten Storm, who was affiliated with al Qaeda in the early 2000s before spying on the organization for Western governments, told ABC News. “They managed to get under the radar and … they finally woke up again, like a sleeper cell, and [committed] this atrocity.”
Storm said he believed that those responsible for the attacks in Paris could have been one of many such al Qaeda cells in position in Europe, preparing to carry out attacks, according to Fox News.
Members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group’s Yemeni branch, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris on Friday. A member of the group told the Associated Press that it had directed the attacks “as revenge for the honor,” of the Prophet Muhammad.
Storm told ABC that Anwar-Al Awaki, a high-ranking member of AQAP, had asked him to steer “European brothers” to the organization, so that they could be trained to carry out attacks and return to Europe without arousing suspicion.
The men believed responsible for the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, were killed in a shoot-out with police on Friday. Saïd Kouachi spent time in Yemen in 2011 receiving military training from the group, and Chérif Kouachi previously told a French TV station that al Qaeda had sent the brothers to commit the attack.