France's Most Wanted Woman May Have Escaped To Syria

France’s most wanted woman, Hayat Boumeddiene, may have escaped to Syria, authorities reported on Saturday.

Boumeddiene, 26, has been on the run since at least Thursday morning when her husband Amedy Coulibaly killed a trainee police officer. Conflicting information exists on her whereabouts for the last week.

On Friday afternoon, Coulibaly took hostages in a supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood. He was an accomplice to Cherif and Said Kouachi, two radical Islamic extremists who killed 12 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and wanted them to escape a police raid. In his attempts to help them, he sieged the supermarket as a distraction.

The Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly were killed during the simultaneous police raids Friday afternoon. Four hostages also died in the supermarket siege.

While the three suspects from the Paris terror attacks are dead, Coulibaly’s wife and accomplice, Hayat Boumeddiene, remains free.

No evidence supports that France’s most wanted woman was ever at the siege with her husband. Turkish authorities told France that she traveled to Turkey on Jan. 2 from Madrid. She had a return ticket dated Jan. 9 that she never used.

Turkish authorities believe she crossed over into Syria on Jan. 9. Currently, authorities are unsure if she went to the country to join one of the radical Islamic groups fighting in Syria’s civil war.

Other reports claim Boumeddiene and Coulibaly were seen together in Paris on Wednesday.

With conflicting information, French police have been conducting a manhunt for Boumeddiene, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Coulibaly and Boumeddiene married in July 2009 in an Islamic religious ceremony that was never recognized by French law.

Reportedly, Coulibaly converted Boumeddiene to radical Islam when they began their relationship. Boumeddiene even lost her job as a cashier because she insisted on wearing the Islamic niqab to work.

Neighbors of the couple said they disappeared last month.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has said Hayat Boumeddiene has been in “constant and sustained” contact with Cherif Kouachi’s girlfriend.

Cherif and Coulibaly are believed to be followers of Djamel Beghal, a French-Algerian jihad supporter. Beghal has served prison time for his involvement in an attempt to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris, but the French-Algerian was released.

Cherif Kouachi said on Friday that he was from the Yemen branch of al-Qaeda. Coulibaly is connected to the militants of the Islamic State.

France’s most wanted woman apparently helped authorities make the connection between Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers working together. Hayat Boumeddiene told counter-terrorism authorities in the past that she, Coulibaly, and the Kouachi brothers would visit Beghal for cross-bow practice.

[Photo Credit: Paolo Bozzelli]