France Investigation

Charlie Hebdo killings: did intelligence services overlook threat from terror network?

The murder of a policewoman and the bloody siege at a Jewish supermarket carried out by a known associate of the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre indicates that an organised group was behind last week's terror attacks. Mediapart has had access to documents from an anti-terrorist investigation in 2010  showing that two of last week's gunmen were involved back then with a radicalised French network that was considering future “martyr operations”. These were supermarket hostage taker Amedy Coulibaly and Charlie Hebdo massacre suspect Chérif Kouachi. As Fabrice Arfi and Karl Laske report, the revelations will inevitably raise questions about whether more could have been done by the intelligence services to prevent last week's bloody events.

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Documents seen by Mediapart show that two of the gunmen involved in last week's bloody sieges and the Charlie Hebdo massacre were part of an organised terrorist network that was suspected of wanting to carry out “martyr operations” in France. Six of this network were at liberty on the eve of Wednesday's killings at the satirical weekly in Paris, with four of them having served prison time over a plot to spring Islamist leaders from French jails. The revelations will inevitably raise questions about whether more could have been done to prevent the three days of terror attacks, in which 12 people were murdered in the attack on the magazine, a policewoman was shot dead, and four hostages were killed in a siege at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

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