An Islamic State militant linked with the Charlie Hebdo massacre and several terrorist attacks on tourist destinations in Tunisia may still be alive according to the Iraqi military, despite his reported death last year.
The US military claimed that Boubaker el-Hakim was killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, the de-facto headquarters of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria in November 2016.
The Iraqi military also provided intelligence regarding the whereabouts of IS militants throughout the city to the Syrian Air Force, who subsequently carried out a series of airstrikes targeting the group’s local command and control infrastructure.
One of the destroyed targets was believed to be el-Hakim’s base of operations at the time, but it is unclear whether he was killed in the attack, an Iraqi military spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday.
El-Hakim is believed to have been involved with the Paris-based IS cell responsible for planning and carrying out the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
A total of 17 people were killed at the offices of the satirical French weekly publication, known for its controversial cartoons and wry, dark sense of humor regarding world affairs.
One gunman then fled the scene and killed a police officer and four civilians before authorities shot him dead.
El-Hakim was arrested in April 2003 in Syria and deported back to France but fell off authorities’ radar as he was believed to pose no threat, Le Monde previously reported.
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