(JTA) — The Islamist who killed four Jews at a kosher supermarket near Paris may have attempted to murder children at a Jewish school shortly before, the French media reported.
The report Tuesday on BFMTV was based on an interview with a woman who witnessed Amedy Coulibaly cause a traffic accident and then kill a police officer south of Paris after the officer approached the scene of the accident in Montrouge, south of Paris. Coulibaly fled the scene.
One day later, on Jan. 9, Coulibaly killed his Jewish victims at the Hyper Cacher market on the eastern edge of Paris. He was killed by police hours after a siege at the market.
“Police told me that this man was armed and following a plan,” said the witness, who was also involved in the accident and was only identified as Anne. “That he had a Jewish school right next to where I had my accident and that the accident messed up his plans, so instead of killing children at a Jewish school, he killed a police officer.”
Chlomik Zenouda, vice president of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, told JTA shortly after the Hyper Cacher shooting that there were “strong indications” that Coulibaly was planning to attack a Jewish school before shooting and killing officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe.
In March 2012, Islamist Mohammed Merah killed four children at a Jewish school in Toulouse.
On Monday, French President Francois Hollande warned about rising religious extremism during a ceremony for Holocaust victims.
“Evil did not stop at the doors of this house, but returns whenever totalitarian or fundamentalist religious ideologies grasp ahold of passions and fears,” Hollande said at the Maison d’Izieu, an orphanage turned memorial where 44 Jewish children were deported to concentration camps on April 6, 1944.