Brothers Said Kouachi and Sharif Kouachi are in their early 30s but even before they killed a dozen people at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, they were on a terror watchlist. Despite this, none of government agencies had an inkling about their plan.
The two were able to hoodwink the counter-terrorism units to carry out a 'meticulously' planned attack on the Charlie Hebdo office. The gunmen were able to escape unscathed even after killing 12 people — including the top editor, prominent cartoonists and police officers.
Latest reports suggest that a special police assault team has surrounded a building in a council estate in Reims in northern France, where the two are said to be hiding. The assault teams believe the two are armed and dangerous.
French Publication Le Point has released a 2005 video of one of the suspects Sharif Kouachi that shows him as a stern radical, who already had close linkups with terrorist organisations and moved in 'dangerous' circles.
The Le Point report also stated that Sharif was also an associate of Djamel Beghal, a terrorist who is currently serving 10 years in prison for planning a terrorist attack against the American embassy in France.
The report noted that Sharif Kouachi's name has appeared in a number of documents that paints the portrait of a dangerous fanatic, who eventually will end up killing 12 people.
A Video Showing Sharif Kouachi along with a convicted terrorist has surfaced online.
It also should be noted that the precision with which the brothers -- Said Kouachi and Sharif Kouach -- handled their weapons suggested that they surely have received military training. The two along with a third accomplice carried out the well-planned attack, wiped out the entire top-team of the French magazine within minutes.
Said and Sharif Kouachi are believed to be French nationals of Algerian descent. Their accomplice was named as 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, who surrendered himself to the police on Thursday.
While not much is known about Said, the French counter-terrorism authorities always kept an eye on Sharif.
He was even jailed for three years in 2008 while trying to join a terrorist group in Iraq. It is suggested that the two may have been trained to use the Kalashnikov rifle -- the weapon used in the Charlie Hebdo attack -- by al-Qaeda.
The attackers reportedly claimed that they were part of the al-Qaeda's Yemen group.
An amateur video of the assailants' subsequent gunfight with the police showed the men shouting: "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!" In the video, one of the gunmen is seen walking up to an injured policeman and shooting him point blank.
Reports citing eyewitnesses claim that the officer reportedly said to the gunman, "You are going to kill me." To which the gunmen replied, "As you say, Chief," and shot him dead.