As I mentioned in my previous post I don’t usually post anything after my Good News Friday post, but these are extraordinary times. France is turning into a war zone with multiple terror attacks taking place at the same time.
This morning we learned that the police were closing in on the terrorists who committed the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. However the police takedown was complicated by the terrorist brothers refusing to surrender, and taking a hostage:
PARIS (AFP) — Two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage Friday as police cornered the gunmen northeast of the capital.
French prosecutors denied reports of casualties in the manhunt.
The suspects told police they “want to die as martyrs,” Yves Albarello, a local lawmaker who said he was inside the command post, told French television station i-Tele.
Authorities evacuated a nearby school around midday Friday after the suspects agreed by phone to allow the children safe passage, town hall spokeswoman Audrey Taupenas told The Associated Press.
In addition, a shooting was reported in eastern Paris Friday afternoon. [This was the terror attack on the Jewish supermarket, see below. -Ed.]
The hostage-taking followed a pursuit along the National 2 highway, ending in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, around 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Charles de Gaulle international airport.
The suspects were holed up in a small printing business named CTD, a source close to the investigation said.
Prior to the standoff, the suspects had hijacked a Peugeot 206 in Montagny-Sainte-Felicite from a woman who said she recognized them as the wanted men, a police source said.
The standoff was close to the same area where special police forces had been combing the countryside for the brothers.
Simultaneously we began to hear rumours of hostages being taken at a kosher supermarket in Paris, and at first we thought it was the same incident as the police hunt, but unfortunately this is yet another Jihadist terror attack on a Jewish target, and it has taken a dreadful turn. Two people are dead and 5 people have been taken hostage so far:
Fresh shooting broke out in eastern Paris on Friday, with reports that an armed man had taken hostages at a kosher grocery store, among them women and children, a source told AFP.
Police sources said at least two were killed at the scene.
The gunman was suspected of being the same man who killed a policewoman south of Paris on Thursday, and is thought to have links to the assailants who stormed satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people.
France Info radio reported that the shooter had two AK-47 rifles, and fired for around 20 seconds before taking five hostages. He then phoned police to make contact.
The suspect matches the physical description of the shooter who killed the policewoman Thursday in Montrouge.
Police, firefighters, and emergency personnel are at the scene.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said he is not aware of any Israeli citizens among the hostages.
According to the address given by French radio, the store is called Hypercacher Alimentation Générale.
Four nearby schools are in lockdown.
Earlier Friday, French police identified a suspect in the shooting Thursday in Montrouge, south of Paris, and have taken two people in his immediate circle into custody, a source close to the investigation said.
“The suspect has been identified. Two people very close to him have been taken into custody,” the source said. The shooting, which left another person injured, has not been linked to Wednesday’s Islamist attack in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead.
The policewoman was shot by a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest just outside Paris, and was a city employee who is in serious condition, police said Thursday.
The man escaped after the attack.
France 24 reports that there is indeed a link between the policewoman’s killer and the Charlie Hebdo killers, contrary to other reports. I will update after Shabbat. Meanwhile follow the news on France24 for live updates.
I pray that the hostages will be released unharmed and that there will be no more bloodshed.