Paris terror attacks: Turks piece together missing days of deli gunman's partner

Officials blame France over Hayat Boumedienne’s movements

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The gloomy backstreets of Istanbul’s Kadikoy have hidden all traces of Hayat Boumedienne – France’s most wanted woman.

Turkish police, desperate for clues of the 26-year-old’s last movements before disappearing into Syria, have raided her last known locations – one of which was revealed this week to be a dreary Istanbul hotel.

Kadikoy, a bustling Istanbul neighbourhood popular with students for its alternative scene, is used to tourists seeking bargains. Lying on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus, it is just a 20-minute ferry ride to the city’s main attractions.

The no-frills Bade Hotel lies hidden from the hubbub and across from an industrial railway support building and car park. The hotel owner declines to comment “on the advice of lawyers,” who have been enlisted in the face of press attention. The hotel’s CCTV tapes have been seized by police.

Warning: Viewers may find this video distressing

Around the corner, however, Cem runs a 24-hour bakkal – a Turkish corner shop – and is sure the French jihadi was holed up in the hotel. She is believed to have hunkered down, venturing out just twice during her stay. On one trip, Boumedienne – the reported wife of Amedy Coulibaly – the Parisian Kosher deli gunman – is said to have bought the Turkish SIM card that was last tracked on the Syrian border on 8 January, near the Isis-controlled town of Tel Abyad.

The last known pictures of Boumedienne leaked on Monday is CCTV footage purportedly of her at passport control at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, accompanied by a man, thought to be 23-year-old Mehdi Sabri Belhoucine.

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Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, has since confirmed that Boumedienne stayed in Istanbul between 2 and 4 January, before entering Syria. “She arrived in Turkey from Madrid … and we have video recordings of her at the airport,” he said. “She stayed in a hotel in Kadikoy with company and she travelled to Syria on 8 January. We know this through phone recordings.”

In the airport CCTV, the woman decreed to be “armed and dangerous” stands calmly as her passport is stamped alongside her companion.

According to Yeni Safak, a Turkish pro-government newspaper, the couple were traced on arrival because Belhoucine was marked as being suspicious. The couple’s French passports were enough to alert the authorities and their details were passed to the French government.

 

The official border gate between Turkey and Tel Abyad is open for Syrian citizens, although Turkish officials have said she crossed “illegally”.

The Turkish press continue to speculate on her route through Turkey and claim she stayed in the border town of Sanliurfa for two days before being smuggled to Syria with four other women.

Turkish officials bristle at suggestions that they allowed Boumedienne to slip through their fingers. Efkan Ala, Turkey’s Interior Minister, said: “France did not inform us about her status prior to her entry, therefore there is not a specific ban that would restrict her entry to Turkey.”

Meanwhile, a Turkish court today ordered the telecommunications authority to ban access to websites showing Charlie Hebdo’s front cover with the image of the Prophet Mohamed, it has been reported. A lawyer in Diyarbakir had filed a petition saying the websites were a danger to “public order”.

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