The conclusion to the kosher supermarket terrorist siege (which I posted about briefly yesterday) ended badly, with the murder of four of the hostages, all Jewish men.
The four Jewish victims of the supermarket attack are:
Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada.
“These French citizens were struck down in a cold-blooded manner and mercilessly because they were Jews,” read the CRIF statement sent out on Saturday.
According to testimonies of people who survived the attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, the four people who were killed during the incident were shot in the early stages of the seven-hour standoff, which ended when police stormed the shop and killed the hostage taker — a 32-year-old man identified as Amedy Coulibaly.
May Hashem avenge their blood and may their families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Here are some highlights of the supermarket siege as it happened, via yesterday’s Times of Israel live-blog:
16:56 Army Radio reported that the gunman told police he will not free the hostages unless the Charlie Hebdo attackers, who are holding one person hostage in eastern Paris in standoff with French police, are allowed to go free.
Police confirmed Friday afternoon that the gunman at the kosher market is the same man who killed a policewoman south of Paris on Thursday, and is linked to the assailants who stormed satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people. He was named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Authorities are looking into suspicions that he took part in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Coulibaly was seen with Charlie Hebdo suspect Cherif Kouachi in 2010 during an investigation into an attempted prison break in France, police said. He was convicted for his role and was well-known to anti-terrorist police.
Coulibaly is believed to have had a female accomplice in the shooting of the policewoman, according to the authorities, who identified her as Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. They were both described as “armed and dangerous.”
France Info radio reported that the shooter at the kosher market has two AK-47 rifles, and fired for around 20 seconds before taking five hostages. He then phoned police to make contact.
An eyewitness at the kosher market told Le Monde that “people were shopping when a man entered and started firing everywhere.” The witness, who did not identify himself, said he was able to escape but heard more bursts of gunfire behind him. He said he only saw one gunman but a person waiting for him outside in the car told him several assailants were involved.
…17: 29 There are conflicting reports about fatalities at the grocery store, Hypercacher Alimentation Générale. Several media outlets have been reporting two fatalities. Others say there are no confirmed deaths. Conflicting reports suggest five, six or more hostages being held.…17:41 A police official says the gunman holding at least five hostages in a kosher market in eastern Paris has threatened to kill them if police launch an assault on the cornered brothers suspected in the newspaper massacre earlier this week, AP confirms.The official describes the events as “clearly linked.”The official says several people were wounded when the gunman opened fire in the market Friday afternoon and were able to flee and get medical care.It is not clear whether the woman listed as the gunman’s accomplice in a police bulletin is inside with him.
Gunfire near kosher market in Paris, people running away
Gunshots and explosions are heard at the kosher supermarket in Paris where a gunman is holding at least 6 people hostage.
People are seen running away from the site.18:26 At least three explosions heard as French special forces storm the kosher supermarket where six people are being held hostage by a gunman linked to the Charlie Hebdo suspects, AFP reports.
Arutz Sheva has a video of the police raid which ended the siege.
The only good news to come out of this siege is that the terrorist was killed in the police raid. In an earlier video he claimed that he belonged to ISIS and that he wanted to target Jews:
Amedy Coulibaly, the hostage taker who killed four people and wounded four others in a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday, called BFM-TV before he died to claim allegiance to Islamic State, saying he wanted to defend Palestinians and target Jews.
Coulibaly said he had jointly planned the attacks with the Kouachi brothers, who were responsible for the bloody attack on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. Police confirmed they were all members of the same Islamist cell in northern Paris.
Interestingly, a Muslim employee of the supermarket helped save his Jewish customers by hiding them in the freezer:
A muslim employee of the kosher market in Paris, where Amedy Coulibaly killed four people and held others hostage, helped hide several people and baby in a freezer downstairs as the seven-hour siege began.
Lassana Bathily, 24, tells Metronews, that his knowledge of the store and a cool head helped him act quickly to lead a number of people downstairs and conceal them from the gunman.
“I opened the door of the freezer and a number of people went inside, I turned off the lights and the freezer,” he tells the newspaper.
Bathily says he told the shoppers to stay calm, closed the door and managed to flee the store using an elevator. He was then able to tell security forces about the people hiding in the freezer.
Later, when the siege was over, he says people came over to congratulate and thank him.
As for Hayyat Boumedienne, the female accomplice of the supermarket terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, about whom there is confusion whether she was at the scene of the siege or not, she has escaped and is still at large. Police are conducting a huge manhunt (womanhunt?) for her and say she is armed and dangerous:
French media profiles Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, the wife-accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly who carried out the attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris yesterday. She is currently the most wanted woman in France.
Itele speaks to a neighbor of Boumeddiene and Coulibaly, who describes them as “not mean” and rather polite. The neighbor, identified by the first name Cyril, says the woman was completely covered from head to toe.
The network also publishes photos of Boumedienne, one with Coulibaly, and several of her brandishing weapons.
Boumedienne, according to the network, also did not leave much of an online footprint and information about her on the internet was hard to come by.The photos contrast with the mugshot of her sent out by police in which her face is fully visible and she appears sleepy-eyed.
May she meet the same swift end as her partner and the two other terrorists from the Charlie Hebdo attack. Those two terrorists were killed at around the same time as the supermarket siege ended, but there was a happier ending for the hostage who was rescued unharmed:
16:58 The two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are holding one person hostage and are cornered by police 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.…18:08 French forces said storming building where Charlie Hebdo suspects holed up
French special forces are said to be storming a building where Said and Cherif Kouachi are holding at least one person hostage northeast of Paris, AFP reports.
18:22 Said and Cherif Kouachi, the brothers who killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday, have been killed by French security forces, Israel’s Army Radio reports.…18:34 A French police official confirms the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre have been killed.The hostage they were holding has been freed, the police also say.The two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, killed 12 people in an assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on Wednesday, and a massive manhunt had been mounted to catch them.
They were holed up in a building in the Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris.
It would be nice to say Bravo to the French police and security services for locating the terrorists and helping them on their way to their desired martyrdom. However, France has a lot of soul-searching to do, and French officials are under pressure to explain how these terrorists, who were known to the authorities, still managed to carry out such deadly attacks:
The attackers had long-established ties and a track record of terrorist activities, with at least one of them believed to have trained with al Qaeda in Yemen.
They epitomised Western authorities’ fear of homegrown Islamist radicals who receive training abroad and return to stage attacks on home soil.
The scrutiny of France’s security services is likely to be all the more acute given that the main target of the attacks, Charlie Hebdo, had long been in the sights of Islamist groups angered by its cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
Chérif, who also went by the name Abu Issen, was part of the “Buttes Chaumont network” that helped send would-be jihadists to fight for al Qaeda in Iraq after the US-led invasion of 2003.
US and Yemeni officials say his brother Saïd linked up with al Qaeda forces in Yemen
French intelligence officials knew Chérif Kouachi had ties with the gunman at the kosher supermarket, identified as 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly, a petty criminal who converted to Islam and became radicalized while in jail.
Shortly after the assaults, French channel BFMTV said it spoke to two of the gunmen before they died. Chérif Kouachi allegedly told the channel that he and his brother were financed and dispatched by al Qaeda in Yemen, while Coulibaly claimed to be a member of the Islamic State organisation.
The latter, who has also been linked with the fatal shooting of a policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday, said he had coordinated his actions with the Kouachi brothers.
Security experts have noted the difficulties in thwarting attacks when intelligence services are drowning in data and potential terrorists number in the thousands.
“It is difficult to track the right people. We have so much noise, so much data, but we can’t necessarily find the right information and act on it when it’s needed,” said Benoit Gomis, a counter-terrorism expert with the Chatham House research group, in remarks carried by the Associated Press.
Gomis said investigations could also be hampered by legal considerations, noting that the oldest of the Kouachi brothers had no criminal record, while the last legal case against his brother, involving a botched attempt to spring a convicted jihadist from jail, had been thrown out.
“You can only do so much within the rule of law,” Gomis said. “You can’t arrest them for extreme views. Lots of people will say we should have arrested them, or put them in jail, but we need to respect the rule of law.”
Alain Bauer, a crime expert and advisor to several French governments, said the recent terrorist attacks had highlighted both the quality of intelligence data and the failings in their analysis.
He identified three phases: “first, an exceptional phase during which intelligence services gathered all the right data; second, a deficient phase in which the analysis [of the data] failed to prevent the attacks; third, an even better phase with the police response, the assault, the liberation of hostages and the neutralization of the gunmen”.
Addressing failings in the second phase will be crucial to preventing future attacks, he told France Info radio.
European officials estimate that some 3,000 people have left the continent to join jihadist movements in the Middle East and North Africa, though many experts believe the figure is much higher.
On Saturday, France’s prime minister said “between 1,200 and 1,400” French nationals had travelled to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist groups there.
Many have returned home, with the kind of combat training that was on display in the clinically efficient massacre at Charlie Hebdo.
Besides the technical failings detailed above, I wonder how much political-correctness and the “religion” of liberalism influenced the decisions of the French authorities in not apprehending the terrorists earlier. I suspect that these played a large part, and fear that these characteristics of Western society will ultimately lead (G-d forbid) to more terrorist attacks of a similar nature elsewhere in Europe.
It’s time that Europe and the US woke up to the reality of Jihad and terrorism inspired by Islam. Political correctness and liberalism will have to be put to one side until the battle is over in order to protect that very liberalism which is so beloved of all of us.