Charlie Hebdo attack: Kouachi brothers are top suspects

French police are hunting for two French brothers suspected of carrying out the massacre at the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people died.
Said and Cherif Kouachi are considered “armed and dangerous”, a police bulletin says. Photos were also released of the two suspects, who are Algerian-origin French citizens resident in Paris.French media say Cherif, 32, is a convicted Islamist who was jailed in 2008 and had long been known to police for militant activities.Cherif, who also went by the name Abu Issen, was part of the “Buttes-Chaumont network” that helped send would-be jihadists to fight for al-Qaeda in Iraq after the US-UK invasion in 2003. He had grown up in an orphanage in Rennes, north-west France, and had trained as a fitness coach before joining his brother in Paris, Liberation newspaper reports. In the capital he worked as a pizza delivery man.Police detained him in 2005 just as he was about to board a plane for Syria – at the time the gateway for jihadists hoping to fight US troops in Iraq.In 2008 he was jailed for three years, but 18 months of the sentence was suspended, Liberation reports.In 2010 he was named in connection with a plot to spring an Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, from jail. Belkacem used to be in the outlawed Algerian Islamic Armed Group (GIA) and was jailed for life in 2002 for a Paris metro station bombing in 1995 which injured 30 people. Said Kouachi, 34, was also named in the Belkacem plot, but the brothers were not prosecuted, for lack evidence. They allegedly frequented a mosque in the Stalingrad district of Paris, where they came under the influence of a radical imam called Farid Benyettou. He reportedly encouraged them to study Islam at his home and at a Muslim centre in their neighbourhood. Said’s ID card was found in the brothers’ getaway car which they abandoned after the shooting, AFP news agency reports, citing police sources.