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Authorities Search For Clues To Deadly Attacks In Paris

A police officer carries flower tributes at the site of Friday's attack on a kosher market in Paris, France.
Laurent Cipriani
A police officer carries flower tributes at the site of Friday's attack on a kosher market in Paris, France.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Authorities in France are trying to determine the whereabouts of a 26-year-old woman who is believed to be linked with one of three assailants killed during multiple attacks around Paris.

Police initially said that Hayat Boumeddiene was involved in the killing of a policewoman in Paris on Thursday and was possibly an active participant in a hostage standoff in a kosher supermarket in the capital a day later. They said that she was considered "armed and dangerous." Now, intelligence from unnamed officials in France and Turkey indicates that she may have traveled to Syria via Turkey on Jan. 2, well before the attacks took place.

Her partner, Amedy Coulibaly, 32, was killed as police stormed the grocery. Four hostages were also killed.

Meanwhile, thousands of security forces and police have been deployed throughout France in hopes of tracking down suspects in the attack on the supermarket and the assault Wednesday on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people, including the publication's outspoken editor, were killed.

In an interview with French television shortly before he was killed, Coulibaly said he had "coordinated" his actions with the magazine attackers, identified as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. The two were killed by police on Friday after being cornered at a warehouse in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, 22 miles outside of Paris.

France 24 says:

"Coulibaly also claimed to have telephoned his friends from the scene of the hostage crisis, urging them to stage further attacks, according to a security source.

"He 'asked his friends to go and attack various targets, specifically police stations in the Paris suburbs,' the source said."

Cherif Kouachi told a French television station that he and his brothers were acting on instructions from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist network's Yemen-based affiliate, to defend the Prophet Muhammad.

In all, 20 people, including three attackers, have been killed in the two sieges.

The French daily Le Monde published a series of photos it says show Coulibaly and Boumeddiene, which include them posing with weapons, her in the Islamic head covering known as a niqab.

France's chief prosecutor, Francois Molins, says that authorities are urgently seeking Boumeddiene.

He said that 16 people had been detained in connection with the investigation, which would focus on possible accomplices and financing for the attacks.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports that Boumeddiene had previously attracted the interest of French and American intelligence officials "because of her association with Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers, which [is believed to be] ... longstanding. All four were connected to a 2010 plot to break an Algerian jihadi out of prison, they say."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.