Paris Sieges End With Four Dead at Kosher Supermarket, French President Hollande Denounces ‘Appalling Anti-Semitic Act’
Police have stormed the two buildings seized by Islamist terrorists near Paris, with all three terrorists killed in the separate operations. Four of the hostages who were held at the kosher supermarket were murdered by terrorist Amedy Coulibaly when he entered the store, just a few hours before French President Francois Hollande denounced what he called “an appalling anti-Semitic act.” Fifteen other hostages survived the ordeal.
Several explosions were heard at the site of the kosher supermarket in the eastern Paris neighborhood of Porte de Vincennes as Special Forces moved in to end the siege. France 2 captured the dramatic climax of the siege in video available here (warning: some viewers may find the images disturbing.)
Yesterday, Coulibaly murdered a police officer in Montrouge, south of Paris. His female companion, Hayat Boumeddiene, is said to still be at large. During the simultaneous sieges, the couple reportedly spoke more than 500 times to the Charlie Hebdo killers, Charif and Said Kouachi, who were cornered by police at a printing shop to the northeast of Paris.
According to French media reports, Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi were two of the most committed followers of convicted terrorist Djamel Beghal. Telephone conversations reveal that the pair visited Beghal’s home in Murat in the south of France.
French President Francois Hollande described the events as “a tragedy for the nation”.
In a national address, he thanked the security forces for their “courage, bravery and efficiency,” but added that France still faced threats.
“We have to be vigilant. I also ask you to be united – it’s our best weapon,” he said.
“We must be implacable towards racism,” he added, saying that the supermarket attack was an “appalling anti-Semitic act.”
The thread linking the terrorist attacks in France this week was traced to Al Qaeda in Yemen, as AP reported:
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula directed the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris “as revenge for the honor” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, a member of the group told The Associated Press on Friday.
At least one of the two brothers involved in the attack traveled to Yemen in 2011 and either received training from or fought alongside the group, according to US and Yemeni officials. A US intelligence assessment described to the AP shows that Said Kouachi was trained in preparation to return home and carry out an attack.
If confirmed, the attack would be the first time al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has successfully carried out an operation in the West after at least two earlier attempts.