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Two prominent French jihadis reported killed in Syria

Hayat Boumedienne

Hayat Boumedienne

A prominent French militant who joined ISIS and the fugitive wife of a man who carried out a high-profile terrorist attack in France reportedly have been killed in airstrikes in Syria.

The wife of Jean-Michel Clain said he was killed over the weekend after succumbing to wounds he suffered in an earlier airstrike near Baghouz, the lone remaining stronghold of ISIS in Syria. The wife, who identified herself as Dorothee Maquere, said her husband's jihadi brother was also killed.

Maquere also said another French woman who had joined ISIS, Hayat Boumeddiene, was killed in a previous airstrike last week when U.S.-backed Kurdish forces hit a safe house known as the "French House" - so named apparently because many French nationals were staying there.

Boumeddiene became a figure of international intrigue following the January 2015 attack by her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, on a kosher supermarket in Paris. Coulibaly killed four people in the supermarket before police stormed in and shot him dead.


Police immediately began looking for Boumeddine after the attack. Believed to be pregnant at the time, she had already fled to Syria. She turned up shortly thereafter in a video produced by ISIS, where she spoke in an interview and called on women to be patient and make life easier for their husbands.

Maquere claimed Boumeddiene had “started a new life” in Syria, and remarried. She also claimed to know nothing of her husband's terror plans, Maquere said.

Boumeddiene’s evolution was well documented in photos widely distributed in French media after her disappearance, from vacation pictures of her in a bikini to images of her holding a crossbow while wearing an all-encompassing black niqab. The last known image of her was from airport surveillance video in Istanbul, going through passport control.

Hayat Boumedienne

Hayat Boumedienne (AP)

Maquere was one of several thousand who have left Baghouz in recent days, in advance of what might be a final offensive against a remaining force of several hundred ISIS fighters by forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Maquere, who also has French citizenship, described the situation inside Baghouz as a “horror film,” saying there is a “massacre” inside, with constant shooting. She said her seven-year-old daughter was among those killed, with another daughter wounded by an explosion two weeks ago. She said two other sons were killed earlier, in a mortar attack by Syrian government forces.

The 38-year-old also said she does not want to go back to France - one of several countries whose citizens have been taken into custody after joining ISIS. “I want France to leave me alone. They killed my husband, my children. ... I want nothing from them. They did already enough harm. I want them to leave me with my children,” she said.


Her husband, Jean-Michel Clain, who Maquere said wrote religious anthems for ISIS, was seriously wounded in a Feb. 20 airstrike in Baghouz that killed his brother, Fabien, one of Europe’s most wanted ISIS members. The U.S.-led coalition announced Fabien’s death several days after the strike.

The two brothers joined IS together and Fabien went on to become the group’s voice in France. Fabien’s voice was on an IS recording claiming responsibility for the worst terrorist violence in France’s modern history — a series of bombings and shootings in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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