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France’s most-wanted widow in interview with Islamic State

February 12, 2015

PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group published what it described as an interview with the widow of the French gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket and a police officer in Paris last month, claiming for the first time that she was among extremist fighters.

The text interviews in French and English, published Wednesday and Thursday, did not directly name Hayat Boumeddiene or show images of her, instead identifying her only as the wife of Amedy Coulibaly, or Umm Basur al-Muhajirah. She is considered key to the investigation into the attacks in Paris, which left 20 people dead including the gunmen, although she left France just beforehand.

The publication appeared to be the first confirmation from IS that she had joined the group in Syria, as was widely believed after a posthumous video emerged of Coulibaly, pledging allegiance to its leader.

In the stilted responses laced with references to the Quran, she called on women to be patient and make life easier for their men. She said Coulibaly himself would also have gone to Syria had it not “conflicted with his intent to carry out the operations in France.” There was no way to confirm the circumstances of the interview, or even if the responses were hers.

Boumeddiene is believed to have traveled to Turkey and then crossed into Syria around the same time as the Jan. 7-9 attacks were unfolding in Paris. Coulibaly killed five people before he died in a raid by security forces. Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi attacked the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12.

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