The man suspected of killing a policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday before fleeing the scene was a member of the same jihadist group as the two suspects in the attack at weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, a police source told Reuters.
The assailant believed to be behind the shooting in the Montrouge area knew Cherif and Said Kouachi, the brothers suspected of killing 10 journalists and two police officers in Wednesday’s assault, the source said on Friday.
The man, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an assault rifle and a handgun, fled in a Renault Clio from the scene after the attack and is still on the run.
Two people have been arrested in an investigation by anti-terrorist authorities, the source said.
The three men were all members of the same Paris jihadist cell that a decade ago sent young French volunteers to Iraq to fight U.S. forces.
Cherif Kouachi served 18 months in prison for his role in the group.
The Montrouge suspect was sentenced in 2010 for his role in a botched prison break-out of Smain Ali Belkacem, the author of a 1995 attack on the Paris transport system that killed eight people and wounded 120.
Cherif Kouachi was similarly implicated in that break-out attempt, but his case was eventually dropped.
The Kouachi brothers, at the centre of a massive manhunt, are now holed up in a printing shop in the northern town of Dammartin-en-Goele and have taken a hostage, the authorities said.