French authorities have asked their US counterparts to help identify a person who appears to have given orders to the jihadist gunman who shot dead four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January.
The mystery person contacted Amedy Coulibaly — who also shot dead a policewoman — by email a day after his accomplices Said and Cherif Kouachi gunned down 12 people in January at Charlie Hebdo magazine, the source said.
“If possible find and work with good dudes,” the person tells Coulibaly in a message delivered on January 8.
“No friends possible, work alone, preference for the first thing planned.
“Go to the easiest and most secure and biggest number to start again several times,” the person says, pointing to the possibility of acting in “suburbs if problem in center.”
The emailer then provides Coulibaly with the steps to take to use a new email address created just hours before, that belongs to a messaging service managed by a company based in Pennsylvania in the United States, said the source close to the case, who refused to be named.
French investigators notified US authorities on January 29, and in June asked them to give them any information they have on the account.
The email exchanges were discovered on Coulibaly’s laptop on January 9 at Hyper Cacher, the Jewish supermarket where he was gunned down by security forces after an hours-long standoff.
The gunman and the mystery messager both had the access codes for the same mailbox, which meant they never sent emails but put them in the drafts section for the other person to check, before deleting them.
French authorities has been on high alert since the jihadist attacks.
The country has been named as a priority target by IS militants and several other attacks have been foiled since January.