Report: Charlie Hebdo attackers identified; Update: Suspects arrested; Update: Or not? Update: One suspect dead, two arrested, says NBC; Update: Or not

Any French speakers want to help me out by translating this? The names and initials of the jihadis are clear enough, at least:

Il s’agirait de trois hommes âgés de 18 ans, 32 ans, 34 ans. Les deux trentenaires, de nationalité française, sont des frères nés dans le 10e arrondissement de Paris. Ils se prénomment Saïd et Chérif K.. La nationalité du plus jeune, Hamyd M., SDF, n’était pas connue. Ce dernier était inscrit en Terminale S en 2014 dans un lycée de Charleville-Mézieres dans l’académie de Reims (Champagne-Ardennes). L’Union en Ardennais indiquait en fin d’après-midi que le RAID s’était rendu du côté de Reims.

L’un des assaillants présumés, Chérif K., serait bien connu des services de police. Il avait été jugé en 2005 pour avoir fait partie d’une filière d’envoi de djihadistes en Irak, “la filière irakienne du 19e arrondissement de Paris”. Avec une dizaine d’autres, il aurait, entre 2003 et 2005 incité une dizaine de jeunes à partir combattre en Irak. Il avait été interpellé en 2005 au moment où il s’apprêtait à partir lui-même en Irak. À l’époque, il expliquait à la présidente du tribunal “Plus le départ approchait, plus je voulais revenir en arrière. Mais si je me dégonflais, je risquais de passer pour un lâche”, avait-il expliqué à la présidente du tribunal Cherif K. Il avait été condamné à trois ans, dont dix-huit mois avec sursis.


One intel analyst on Twitter posted a French police document which he claims lists the full names of the suspects, but that info is unconfirmed right now. Said and Cherif K share the same last name in the document so presumably they’re related; they’re ages are 34 and 32, respectively, while (per the excerpt above) Hamyd M is a tender 18. I had thought there were only two attackers. Nope, three.

And incidentally, that Al Qaeda lead from this morning is looking better by the minute. The same intel analyst claims that the terrorists have foreign experience, although his sourcing is unclear:

Experts who spoke to the NYT do indeed see signs of professionalism here that tend to be missing from the sort of lone-wolf jihadi rampages that ISIS inspires. This looks to them more like Al Qaeda’s work:

Their assessments were supported partly by video clips of the killers, which showed them equipped with military-style gear, including assault rifles and combat vests designed to hold extra ammunition. The assailants also appeared to know exactly how to use their weapons.

Moreover, the attack against the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, known for lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, was led by at least three assailants, in contrast to the wave of lone gunman attacks attributed to ISIS-inspired extremists…

Among the signs pointing to Al Qaeda is the recent issue of Inspire — the propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — which named the editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier, on its suggested hit list of Westerners who have insulted the Muslim faith…

Another sign of Al Qaeda’s imprint is the military training and coordination reflected in the movements and behavior of the attackers.


One obvious mystery in all this: Why haven’t the jihadis struck again? If you’re willing to grab an AK and drive into Paris to gun down a roomful of cartoonists, odds are you’re comfortable with a high likelihood of imminent death at the hands of police. That being so, why not take advantage of their last few hours of freedom to go out with a bang? It’s strange and surprising that they had no secondary targets in mind in the event that they somehow escaped after the Hebdo massacre. Stay safe, Parisians.

Update: Assuming the names of the suspects are correct, uh oh.

Update: The Guardian’s Paris correspondent claims all three suspects have been arrested. Amazingly, they were taken alive.

Update: Here’s the translation via a reader:

They are three men aged 18, 32, 34 years. The ones who are thirty, are French nationals and are brothers born in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. They are named Said and Cherif K .. The nationality of the younger Hamyd M., homeless, was not known. The latter was registered in 2014 Terminal S in a school in Charleville- Mezieres in the Academy of Reims ( Champagne- Ardennes) . The Union stated in the Ardennes in late afternoon as RAID went towards Reims.

One of the alleged assailants, K. Sherif is well known to police. He was tried in 2005 for being part of a jihadist chain going to Iraq, “the Iraqi chain of the 19th district of Paris.” With a dozen others, he would, between 2003 and 2005, have prompted a dozen young people to go fight in Iraq. He was arrested in 2005 when he was about to leave himself for Iraq. At the time, he explained to the president of the court “As the departure time came closer, I wanted to back out. But if I backed out, I might pass for a coward, “he explained to the President of the Court Cherif K. He was sentenced to three years, including eighteen months suspended.


Update: So much for the Guardian’s earlier report about arrests: They’ve updated now to say they can’t confirm. However, a raid may be under way.

Update: Just across at around 7:30 ET. This seems more definitive:

One of the suspects in the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine has been killed and the two others are in custody, two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

Authorities earlier had identified the three men as Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both French and in their early 30s, and Hamyd Mourad, 18, whose nationality wasn’t immediately clear.

One of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, told The Associated Press that the men were linked to a Yemeni terrorist network. Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq’s insurgency and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Update: Annnnnd NBC has now walked back its own report. Per WaPo, as of Thursday morning, a huge manhunt was still going on for the two Kouachi brothers. Hamyd Mourad, the youngest of the three, turned himself in to local police — and may have a solid alibi.

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