Smiling brunette Hayat Boumeddiene is currently France’s most wanted woman. Pictures show the bikini-clad 26-year-old cosying up to her terrorist lover Amedy Coulibaly, while in another image the Paris shootings suspect points a deadly crossbow at the camera.
French police have issued a national alert saying that despite her youthful looks, the daughter of a delivery driver is armed and dangerous and shouldn’t be approached. But who is the mysterious woman seen with her empty stare in pictures circulating online?
Who is Hayat Boumeddiene?
The brunette is 26 years old and put simply, is the most wanted woman in Paris. She was born in Villiers-sur-Marne into a family of seven on June 26, 1988.
Her mother died when she was just six years old and her delivery driver father Mohamed is believed to have struggled to raise the children on his own. An official police photograph of Boumeddiene shows a young woman with long dark hair hitched back over her ears.
French media, however, released photos purporting to be of a fully-veiled Boumeddiene, posing with a crossbow, in what they said was a 2010 training session in the mountainous Cantal region.
Why is she wanted?
A radical Islamist, Boumeddiene is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who was gunned down after attacking the kosher supermarket in Paris during a siege in which four hostages were killed.
Along with Coulibaly, she is suspected of killing a policewoman three days ago after two other accomplices killed 12 at the newspaper office of Charlie Hebdo.
Police haven’t yet confirmed if she took part in the supermarket attack, but she is now on the run and has been described by as “armed and dangerous”.
How did she get involved?
Little is known about the personal life of Hayat Boumeddiene. But she is believed to have met Amedy while working as a cashier and was said to have waited at least four years for him while he served time for an armed robbery conviction.
In 2009 she quit her job and married her lover in an unofficial religious ceremony before settling down in Bagneux, Hauts-de-Seine. The pair mixed in radical Islamic circles and have been linked to the same groups as Abu Hamza.
When she was once questioned by French media on the terror attacks committed by Al Qaeda and she responded by asking what about “the innocents killed by the Americans?”
Where is she now?
Boumeddiene left France last week and traveled to Syria via Turkey, according to a senior Turkish official who said 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 familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The source said she was accompanied by a man and had a return ticket for January 9, but never took the flight. A senior Turkish security official said Paris and Ankara were now cooperating in trying to trace her, but said she arrived in Istanbul without any warning from France.
“After they informed us about her… we identified her mobile phone signal on Jan 8,” the source said.
“We think she is in Syria at the moment but we do not have any evidence about that… She is most probably not in Turkey,” the source said, adding the last signal from her phone was detected on Thursday.