Search on for killer’s partner

A woman hunted by French police as a suspect in the attacks on a satirical paper and Jewish supermarket in Paris left France several day before the killings and is believed to be in Syria, Turkish and French sources said.

After killing the gunmen behind the worst assault in France for decades, French police launched an intensive search for Hayat Boumeddiene, the 26-year-old partner of one of the attackers, describing her as “armed and dangerous”.

But a source familiar with the situation said that Boumeddiene left France last week and travelled to Syria via Turkey. A senior Turkish official corroborated that account, saying she passed through Istanbul on January 2.

“On January 2, a woman corresponding to her profile and presenting a piece of identity took a flight from Madrid to Istanbul,” a source said, adding that she was accompanied by a man and had a return ticket for January 9, but never took the flight. A Turkish official said Paris and Ankara were co-operating in trying to trace her.

French media described her as one of seven children whose mother died when she was young and whose delivery-man father struggled to keep working while looking after the family. As an adult, she lost her job as a cashier when she converted to Islam and started wearing the niqab.

Le Monde said Boumeddiene wed Amedy Coulibaly in a religious ceremony not recognised by French civil authorities in 2009. The two were questioned by police in 2010 and Coulibaly jailed for his involvement in a botched plot to spring from jail the author of a deadly 1995 attack on the Paris transport system.

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