French judges asked American officials to identify a person whom they believe helped the Islamist radical Amedy Coulibaly plan and carry out the murder of four Jews in Paris in January.
A day before Coulibaly took more than 20 hostages and killed four of them at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket on Paris’ eastern edge, he received an email from an unknown individual with instructions to get in touch with a third party or parties code-named “zigotos,” the BFMTV station reported Tuesday, based on documents it obtained.
The interlocutor, described by some French media also as Coulibaly’s handler, gave him an email address associated with a communications firm in Pennsylvania, the news agency AFP reported. That information prompted the contact with U.S. officials.
“Work alone. Go for the easiest, the surest and most numerous. Maybe in the [city] edges in case of problems in the center. You know best,” one set of instructions transmitted to Coulibaly read.
From other segments of correspondence, researchers believe the correspondent, who used basic French with some grammatical errors, was based outside France, BFMTV reported.
Coulibaly’s Jan. 9 attack on Hyper Cacher occurred shortly after the murder of 12 individuals by two other jihadists at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper. He was believed to have been in contact with the perpetrators of that attack, and to have planned his action to occur shortly after theirs.
The Charlie Hebdo killers, Said and Chérif Kouachi, escaped the scene of their attack and were killed on Jan. 9, when French counterterrorism agents stormed simultaneously their hideout and the Hyper Cacher store. Coulibaly also was killed in the takeover.