I know practically nothing about Hayat Boumeddiene — variously described as the “partner,” “common-law wife” and “widow” of Paris kosher-grocery attacker Amedy Coulibaly — but I had several thoughts in quick succession when I read this over the weekend:
PARIS — French authorities on Saturday were hunting for a woman said to be “armed and dangerous,” who they believe is connected to three days of violence that reached a bloody denouement in twin sieges Friday.
Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, may have fled France ahead of the attacks and may now be in Syria, French media reports said Saturday. The reports, which cited unnamed police sources, raised further questions about the attackers’ connections to organized Islamist militant groups.
Boumeddiene, 26, is the partner of Amedy Coulibaly, who on Friday seized a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris, killing four people at the height of pre-Sabbath shopping before being killed himself after an hours-long standoff. A day earlier, he killed a Paris police officer, authorities believe. During the Friday standoff, he said he was affiliated with the Islamic State, which is headquartered in Syria…
The thoughts, such as they are, were:
- The initial, visceral one: What a lovely young face (despite that jaded look in her eyes). If she is actually a terrorist, what a terrible waste of someone who looks so fresh and innocent. One wants to protect her. (In other words, the male equivalent of the way various women, particularly the motherly sort, viewed the picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone.)
- “Armed and dangerous?” What is this, a return to the 70s? Are we back to the days of Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof, with young women who are every bit as radicalized, unfeeling and violent as the most testosterone-infested young men?
- This really explodes one of the stereotypes of Islamist terrorists. The caricature is of sexually frustrated young men who can’t get a date, who will do anything to get at those 72 virgins. But at least one of these had a girlfriend.
- Hold on a minute. We also tend to think of these terrorists as guys who are such devout Muslims that they are psychotically obsessed with what they imagine their religion’s demands to be. But what even mildly devout Muslim lives with a woman without benefit of marriage?
None of which is helpful to the investigation or anything (turns out she wasn’t even in the country at the time of the attack, but it’s understandable that authorities would like to talk with her), but those were the things that occurred to me at the time….