Hayat Boumeddiene, who went from anonymous to the most-wanted woman in France almost instantly Friday, may have fled France to Syria in early January, several media reports say.
French authorities told the Wall Street Journal and other media that they believe Boumeddiene left France on July 2 for Turkey, where she then crossed over into Syria. As the only person connected to the three-day killing spree left alive, authories wanted her to question to know the extent of the planning that led to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery store, as well as how large the network that supported the attacks are. If she has indeed fled to Syria, the civil war there probably places her forever beyond reach.
On Friday, French police issued an arrest warrant for Boumeddiene and boyfriend Amed Coulibaly in the killing of a French policewoman outside of Paris on Thursday. Hours later, Coulibaly took nearly 20 people hostage inside a kosher supermarket in Paris. There was initial speculation that she may have been with him in the market, but it now appears she fled a week before the attack, indicating a fair level of planning.
Coulibaly reportedly had demanded safe passage for the Kouachi brothers, who were surrounded by police in a building near Paris after they killed 12 at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
He and the brothers were all killed by police during separate raids on Friday. Four of Coulibaly’s hostages were murdered by him, according to France’s president.
Boumeddiene is linked to the Kouachis through Coulibaly, whom police believe became radicalized after meeting one of the brothers around 2005 while he was jailed for robbery. According to CBS, Boumeddiene made contact with the wife of one of the Kouachi brothers 500 times last year.
Coulibaly was later arrested in 2010 in connection to plans to free a terrorist serving a life sentence for the Paris metro attack in 1995 and served a four-year prison sentence. After being released in 2014, he moved in with Boumeddine. The pair were married at some point in a religious ceremony, which is not recognized in France.
In 2010, during a visit to Djamel Beghal, a convicted al Qaeda terrorist under house arrest in southern France, Boumeddiene and Coulibaly took a series of photos together. When Boumeddiene was asked about the trip by police she claimed they were there for “crossbow practice.”
She also reportedly told police she had been inspired by her husband and other radicals to study religion and the world's current wars. "When I saw the massacre of the innocents in Palestine, in Iraq, in Chetchna, in Afghanistan or anywhere the Americans sent their bombers, all that…well, who are the terrorists?" she said.