Charlie Hebdo shooting: French man arrested in Bulgaria 'had links to Paris attacker'

Fritz-Joly Joachin was allegedly in contact 'several times' with Cherif Kouachi

Heather Saul
Tuesday 13 January 2015 10:30 GMT
Said and Cherif Kouachi, aged 34 and 32
Said and Cherif Kouachi, aged 34 and 32 (PA)

A French man arrested in Bulgaria had links with one of the attackers in the Paris shootings, it has been reported.

French citizen Fritz-Joly Joachin was in contact several times with Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers who shot dead 12 people at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's offices last week, AFP quotes prosecutor Darina Slavova as saying.

Reuters reported on Monday that prosecutors planned to extradite Joachin over suspicions he knew or had been in touch with one of the brothers.

Using a European arrest warrant alleging that he had abducted his three-year-old son and was likely to take him to Syria, Bulgarian police arrested Joachin, 29, on 1 January at a border checkpoint when he tried to cross into Turkey.

A second European arrest warrant cited his possible association with one of the attackers and "conspiracy in terrorism”, according to the Reuters news agency.

The chief prosecutors' office in the Bulgarian capital Sofia confirmed that the second warrant was issued on the grounds that Joachin was part of a criminal group planning terrorist acts, Reuters has reported.

The arrest comes after brothers Cherif and Saïd Kouachi stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo last week during an editorial meeting.

A third attacker, Amédy Coulibaly, shot and fatally wounded a policewoman and killed four hostages in a separate but linked attack on a Jewish grocery store the following day.

French police have said as many as six members of a terrorist cell involved in the attacks may still be on the run. Ten thousand troops are due to be deployed to protect possible targets around France.

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