PARIS — Two months after Islamist killers gunned down 17 people in three separate attacks in Paris—including Charlie Hebdo satirical cartoonists, three police officers, and four Jewish hostages at a kosher grocery—four new suspects were taken into French police custody Monday as the sweeping investigation continues.
The four held include three men said to be close to Amédy Coulibaly and, as Europe 1 radio revealed Monday, a girlfriend of one of the men, a military policewoman. Coulibaly, claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State, shot dead a policewoman on January 8 and murdered four more people at the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery on January 9. He was working in league with the Kouachi brothers, who had killed 12 others in and around the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7. Coulibaly and the Kouachis were all killed by police in two separate shootouts on January 9.
One of the alleged Coulibaly associates in custody Monday, according to Europe 1, is a man known as Amar R. He was already being held on a European warrant on an apparently unrelated allegation in a Spanish inquiry. Also in custody, Amar R.’s girlfriend, known only as Emmanuelle, who made headlines last month when she was suspended from her duties as a gendarme in Rosny-sous-Bois, a suburb east of Paris, reportedly for having sneaked a letter to her jailed lover hidden among clothing she brought him.
Amar R.’s cellphone is alleged to have been located in the same places as Coulibaly’s over three critical days—January 6, 7, and 8—and is believed to have pinged a cell tower near the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery just hours before Coulibaly’s January 9 attack.
Emmanuelle was identified previously as a 34-year-old from Brittany, northwestern France, who converted to Islam in recent years and wore a veil when she was off duty. She lived at the Rosny-sous-Bois barracks where Amar, who is thought to have met Coulibaly in prison and was being tracked by police as a suspected Islamist radical, was spotted visiting her.
Dressed in gray jogging pants, a pink-and-black Adidas zip-up hoodie, and pink sneakers, her face and voice obscured, Emmanuelle told the TF1 newsmagazine show Sept à Huit last month that she met Amar at a dinner with friends in late 2013. Sept à Huit describes him as a 33-year-old born in Algeria who arrived in France at age 6; he is said to have studied management before getting into trouble with the law, including allegedly stealing Champagne, an incident his former lawyer, interviewed by TF1, uses to illustrate that Amar was not a practicing Muslim at the time.
Later, Amar would be convicted for his role in a jewelry heist and meet Coulibaly in prison. Emmanuelle tells the newsmagazine show that her boyfriend confided on the night of the Hyper Cacher hostage-taking that he was friendly with Coulibaly, but was shocked to learn about the attacks, and he denied any involvement.
Four men in their 20s were already charged in January with having provided logistical support to Coulibaly before the Paris attacks.