A French television station purportedly interviewed two of the three Paris terrorists shortly before they were killed in standoffs at a printing factory and at a kosher market on Friday — with one of the terrorists admitting he was acting on orders from al-Qaeda and another saying that he was targeting Jews at the market.
BFM TV, a CNN affiliate, called the printing factory where Cherif and Said Kouachi had taken one hostage Friday morning near Charles de Gaulle airport.
The two had been on the run since Wednesday when they stormed the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 journalists and two police officers in retribution for recent cartoons satirizing Muhammad.
“We are just telling you that we are the defenders of Prophet Muhammad. I was sent, me, Cherif Kouachi, by al Qaida in Yemen. I went there and Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki financed my trip,” the elder Kouachi said in a two minute interview with BFM TV.
Al-Awlaki is the al Qaida terrorist and American citizen who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in Sept. 2011.
Kouachi also told BFM TV that he considered Charlie Hebdo staff to be “targets” and not civilians.
BFM TV also purportedly spoke with Amedy Coulibaly, who is believed to have fatally shot a female Paris police officer on Thursday.
Coulibaly had taken hostages in a kosher market on the outskirts of Paris as leverage to free the Kouachi brothers from their standoff with police.
Coulibaly told BFM TV that he was affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and that he chose the kosher market because of “the Jews.”
A translation of BFM TV’s report reads:
The hostage taker grocery hide told the deputy managing editor of BFMTV Alexis Delahousse, have “synchronized” with Charlie killers he knew: “They Charlie Hebdo, the police myself.”
He however said to belong to the Islamic State and follow the instructions of the caliphate. He explained his actions by saying defend the oppressed Muslims, especially in Palestine. And chose to take to the grocery store “Hyper Hide” because it targeted “the Jews.”
French police besieged both of the locations where the terrorists were holed up in coordinated operations, killing all three.
At least 20 people — including the 12 victims of Wednesday’s attack, the policewoman, at least four hostages, and the three terrorists — have died in the three-day spree.
Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers had reportedly known each other since the mid-2000s. Coulibaly met Sherif Kouachi in prison and became devotees of the same French-Algerian radical Islamic cleric. They have been accomplices in at least two prison break attempts of radical Islamists.