Rap sheet: The two Charlie Hebdo suspects were known entities

Islamic Extremism

France Newspaper AttackThis photo provided by The Paris Police Prefecture Thursday, Jan.8, 2015 shows the suspects Cherif, left, and Said Kouachi in the newspaper attack along with a plea for witnesses. (AP Photo/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

Brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, were killed Friday during a police shootout in the printing plant north of Paris where they had been surrounded after a massive manhunt. Suspected of murdering 12 people at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, this is what has been released so far on what French authorities knew of the two killers.

Much more has been released on Cherif, the younger of the two Kouachi brothers.

Cherif Kouachi

  • Also known as “Abu Issen”
  • Long known to police for militant Islamist activitiesOn the U.S. no fly list “for years,” according to an unnamed U.S official.
  • Detained in 2005 just before boarding a plane to Syria, which the BBC reports was “at the time the gateway for jihadists hoping to fight US troops in Iraq.”
  • Jailed in 2008 for helping funnel militants to Iraq between 2004 and 2006. His three year sentence was suspended by 18 months.
  • Part of  a network that helped send would-be jihadists to fight for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
  • Imprisoned again in 2010 for suspected connection to a plot to spring another jihadist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, from jail. Released a few months later due to lack of evidence.
  • Possibly traveled to Syria, returning to France as recently as August 2014, according to CNN.
  • Known by his neighbors as kind, and calm. He was “well-behaved, friendly, polite, clean-looking, and above all, which is very important, he was willing to help old people and disabled people,” neighbor Eric Blade said of Cherif to the BBC. “Very willing to help… he wasn’t aggressive. He wasn’t a crazy zealot. He was a calm person.”
  • “Always cheerful,” a local baker said of Cherif.


Said Kouachi

  • Also named in the Belkacem plot
  • On the U.S. no fly list “for years,” according to an unnamed U.S official.
  • Traveled to Yeman in 2011 and was trained on weapons.
  • His identification card was found in the vehicle abandoned after Wednesday’s attack,


Compiled from reporting by Le Monde, the BBC, The Guardian, CNN, The New York Time, and USA Today.