Video Shows Paris Gunman Amedy Coulibaly Pledging to IS, Claiming Tie to Charlie Hebdo Attackers
An Islamic State (IS)-linked Twitter account released a video showing Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), displaying his weapons, and claiming a connection to Cherif and Said Kouachi, the Charlie Hebdo attackers, on January 11, 2014.
The seven minute, 16 second French-language video shows Coulibaly wearing different attire amid different backgrounds in each respective shot and bearing slight variations in facial hair.
"The fact that Coulibaly is presented with different facial hair between some of these shots clearly indicates that the video was shot across different occasions," says SITE Director Rita Katz.
Following initial shots of weapons allegedly held by Coulibaly, a question reads, "To what group do you belong and do you have an emir [leader]?"
Sitting in beige attire in front of the IS-affiliate banner, he answers in part, "I address myself first to the Caliph of the Muslims Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Caliph Ibrahim. I pledged allegiance to the Caliph when the Caliphate was declared."
"There are two important things to take away at this point," says Katz. "First, Coulibaly's pledge to the Islamic State and its Caliph, Baghdadi, does not prove the group's involvement in the attack. Furthermore, Coulibaly's alleged association with the Kouachi brothers does not necessarily indicate that they too had ties or support for the Islamic State."
Further in, the video cuts away to more text, asking this time, "Are you connected to the brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo?" Following the question, Coulibaly reappears in a flak vest and sits on a couch. Also notable is that though he still bares facial hair, it appears less thick as it was in the previous shot. He then answers the question regarding his involvement with the Charlie Hebdo attackers:
The brothers of our team split into two. [They went to] Charles Hebdo, praise be to Allah (...). On my part, I left to face the police. This is it. So we did some things together and some other things separately in order to have more impact. I helped this project by giving a few thousand Euros, so that he would finish off what he bought. So this is it. Praise be to Allah. We manage to coordinate so that we leave at the same time, with less problems, because we are close to the same end.
The video then shows another question, this time asking, "Why did you attack France, Charlie Hebdo, and a Jewish grocery store?" When the video returns to a shot of Coulibaly, he sits next to a gun, wearing a leather jacket, a black hat, and gloves (also bearing what appears to be the same length of facial hair). He answers in part:
What we intend to do is completely legitimate, given what they do. It is vengeance for the Prophet. It is amply deserved for a long time. You attack the Caliph. You attack the Islamic State. We attack you. One cannot attack and get nothing in return.
The final question asks, "What advice do you have for the Muslims of France?" The following shot then shows Coulibaly in a white robe (different to his attire worn in the earlier shot wherein he pledges allegiance to IS) next to what appears to be the same gun as he calls for further retaliation from Muslims.
It is not clear if the footage was edited by Coulibaly or another IS supporter(s) before its release following his death. However, though the video was released by an IS-linked account, it shows no watermarks or attribution to any official IS media group, such as al-Hayat Media Center, the group's primarily Western-aimed media arm.