Paris Terrorists on US 'No Fly' List 'For Years'

Kouachi brothers who murdered 12 at Charlie Hebdo headquarters were on US's most restrictive list; one was in 2005 extremism TV documentary.

Ari Yashar, | updated: 10:37

Prime suspects: Cheir and Said Kouachi
Prime suspects: Cheir and Said Kouachi
French police

As France continues to conduct a massive manhunt for the two jihadist terrorists who murdered 12 in Wednesday's shocking shooting on the Paris headquarters of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, new details reveal they have been on the US "no fly" list for terrorists "for years."

US officials told Yahoo News that the terrorist brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi were put into the US government's Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) system, a classified database of over one million individuals suspected of connections to terror.

However, the information on the two was seen as serious enough to have them then be put on numerous government watch lists by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. They were put on the "no fly" list that includes 47,000 names and is the most restrictive of the counter-terror lists.

People on the "no fly" list are seen as a "threat to civil aviation or national security," an American official revealed. He didn't specify why they were added to the list, but noted they were on it "for years."

The revelation came after US officials revealed Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen as late as 2011 on behalf of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), where he received weapons training and likely bomb making training. Officials say the information was passed to French intelligence agencies.

In addition, French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday that one of the brothers traveled to Yemen in 2005. Taubira would not say which brother.

The two told cartoonist Corrine Rey before the shooting that they were working on behalf of Al-Qaeda. They are currently at large and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). An accomplice, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, voluntarily handed himself over to authorities on Wednesday night.

A French security official told Associated Press that the two stole a Peugeot car on Friday morning in Montagny Sainte Felicite, about 30 miles northeast of Paris, and that shots were fired in the process. The two apparently fled the scene and are on the move again.

One of the terrorists appeared on TV in 2005

Both of the brothers, who were born in Paris to Algerian immigrants, were already known to French counter-terrorism authorities according to France 24.

Cherif was handed 18 months in prison back in 2008 for trying to fly to Iraq to join terrorist organizations there and take part in the fighting.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Thursday revealed that Cherif at the time was described by fellow aspiring jihadists as "violently anti-Semitic." He added that Said, an unemployed resident of Reims, was known largely because of his involvement in his younger brother's activities.

Cherif, a former pizza deliveryman, appeared in a 2005 French TV documentary on Islamic extremism.

He was revealed to be preoccupied with skirt-chasing and rap music before a radical preacher encouraged him to ascribe to jihad holy war and book a flight to Syria.

In the documentary, he said the cleric "told me that (holy) texts prove the benefits of suicide attacks. It’s written in the texts that it’s good to die as a martyr."

After being jailed in 2008, Cherif was detained again during the probe of an alleged plot to break out of jail an Islamist terrorist, who was handed a life sentence for bombing a Paris train line in 1995. Cherif was eventually released without any charges made.




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