France ordered 10,000 troops into the streets Monday to protect sensitive sites — including Jewish schools and neighborhoods — as it hunted for accomplices to the Islamic militants who killed 17 people as they terrorized the nation.
As many as six members of a terrorist cell involved in the Paris attacks may still be at large, including a man who was seen driving a car registered to the widow of one of the gunmen, police officials said.
Two French police officials also told the Associated Press that authorities were searching the Paris area for the Mini Cooper registered to Hayat Boumeddiene, the widow of Amedy Coulibaly. Turkish officials say she is now in Syria.
One of the police officials said the cell consisted of about 10 members, and that “five or six could still be at large.” He did not provide their names. The other said the network was made up of about eight people and included Boumeddiene.
One of the other men believed to be part of the network has been seen driving Boumeddiene’s car around Paris in recent days, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. They cautioned that it was not clear whether the driver was an operative, involved in logistics, or some other, less violent role in the cell.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the manhunt is urgent because “the threat is still present” after the attacks that began Wednesday with 12 people killed at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by gunmen the police identified as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi.
Authorities said Coulibaly, a friend of the brothers, killed a policewoman Thursday and then killed four people at a kosher supermarket Friday before all three attackers were slain in two nearly simultaneous clashes with security forces around Paris.
Paris’ Marais district — one of the country’s oldest Jewish neighborhoods — was filled with police and soldiers Monday. About 4,700 of the security forces would be assigned to protect France’s 717 Jewish schools, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
“A little girl was telling me earlier that she wanted to live in peace and learn in peace in her school,” Cazeneuve said. “That’s what the government, that’s what the Republic, owes to all the children in France.”
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the nationwide deployment of troops would be completed by Tuesday and would focus on the most sensitive locations.
“The work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues … because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices,” Valls told BFM television.
French police have said the Charlie Hebdo attacks were carried out by three people, but only two of those attackers — the Kouachi brothers — have been identified by authorities.
Video emerged Sunday of Coulibaly explaining how the attacks in Paris would unfold. French police want to find the person or persons who shot and posted the video, which was edited after Friday’s attacks.
Boumeddiene was seen traveling through Turkey with a male companion before reportedly arriving in Syria with him on Jan. 8 — the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack and the same day Coulibaly began his murderous spree by killing the policewoman.
The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover of its first issue since Islamic extremists killed 12 people at its offices.
The newspaper Liberation released the Charlie Hebdo cover online late Monday, showing a man in a white turban it says represents the prophet. He is holding a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) and with a title reading “Tout est Pardonne” (“All is Forgiven”), which French media interpreted as meaning Muhammad is forgiving the cartoonists for lampooning him.
Charlie Hebdo’s past caricatures of the Muslim prophet appear to have prompted last week’s attacks, part of the worst terrorist rampage in France in decades.
SOURCE: The Associated Press