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French Forces Kill Charlie Hebdo Suspects, Market Gunman; 4 Hostages Dead

January 09, 2015
by RFE/RL

French media say three gunmen holed up with hostages at two locations in Paris and in a nearby village were killed when security forces stormed the premises.

Two of the hostage takers were Al-Qaeda-linked brothers suspected of killing 12 people in a massacre at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo massacre earlier in the week.

The reports say Cherif and Said Kouachi were shot dead by security forces after they emerged, firing automatic assault rifles, from a printing plant where they had been cornered earlier on January 9.

The gunman who took five people hostage at a kosher market in eastern Paris, who reportedly knew one of the Kouachi brothers, was also killed in a raid that began moments after the Charlie Hebdo suspects were killed.

Four of the market hostages reportedly were killed.

Live television broadcasts showed what appeared to be hostages being evacuated from the building after five explosions there.

In the Paris market, the gunman, identified as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, had reportedly threatened to kill those hostages if authorities launched an assault on the Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects.

AFP reported that Coulibaly told French television that he was a member of the brutal militant Islamist group Islamic State, which controls swaths of Iraq and Syria and is the target of an international military campaign.

Police said Coulibaly was thought to be the same gunman who killed a French policewoman in southern Paris on January 8.

Police were also looking for a suspected accomplice, Coulibaly's girlfriend, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene. Police issued photographs of the two, saying both were believed to be 'armed and dangerous.'

Reports from Israel quoted relatives of hostages at the kosher shop as saying that a 4-year-old boy and a 6-month-old baby were among the captives.

The hostage situation at the kosher shop erupted hours after security forces cornered the Kouachi brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele.

Officials had established phone contact with the brothers inside the printing plant and reportedly negotiated the safe evacuation of 900 people from a nearby school.

A local lawmaker inside the police command post said the brothers had said they 'want to die as martyrs.'

Car Chase

Earlier on January 9, police engaged in a car chase with the Kouachi brothers and shots were fired before the suspects fled to the printing plant.

Police denied reports of a death in that shooting.

Masked gunmen killed 12 people in the January 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo, which had been firebombed in 2011 and had been threatened by the Al-Qaeda militant group for its caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The victims of the attack included eight journalists and two police officers.

The attackers said they wanted to 'avenge the Prophet' during the attack on the magazine, which had drawn repeated threats for its caricatures of Muhammad.

Witnesses said the attackers claimed allegiance to Al-Qaeda in Yemen during the assault.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that France was at 'war' with terrorism but 'not in a war against religion.'

'It will without doubt be necessary to take measures' to respond to the terrorist 'threat,' he said.

President Francois Hollande said France must 'try to foster an even stronger prevention against possible repeats of the events we just experienced.'

Both Kouachis are on the United States' no-fly list of suspected terrorists.

Reuters quoted a senior Yemeni intelligence source as saying Said Kouachi, 34, visited Yemen in 2011 and met the late Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki during his stay.

​​Cherif Kouachi, 32, was convicted of terrorism charges in 2008 for his links to a network sending jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq.

Speaking on January 8 on French TV, Kouachi's former lawyer called on Cherif Kouachi to 'hand himself over to police authorities so that all light can be shed on this case.'

The Islamic State militant group has praised the deadly attack, calling the gunmen 'heroic jihadists.'

European Union chief Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Janary 9 that they would join a mass rally on January 11 in Paris to show solidarity after the attacks.

Tusk also said the EU's next scheduled summit will include discussion of antiterrorist efforts following the Paris attack.

He said he intended to use the February 12 summit 'to discuss more broadly the response the EU can bring to these challenges' following the 'barbaric attacks in Paris.'

The partner of Charlie Hebdo's editor Stephane Charbonnier, who was among the dead, said he and his colleagues 'died defending freedom of expression, secularism.'

'They have died so we can stay free in this country,' Jeannette Bougrab said on French television station BFMTV on January 8.

On January 9, surviving employees of Charlie Hebdo started work on a new issue in premises loaned by the newspaper Liberation.

Prime Minister Valls and Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin visited Liberation in a show of support for the journalists, cartoonists, and others shown into the building in central eastern Paris.

Meanwhile, with tensions and fears of copycat crimes high, soon after the Paris-area standoffs ended, news emerged that two hostages were being held in a jewelry story in the southern city of Montpellier. Officials later said there was no connection.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, BBC, Sky News, CNN, and RTL

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/paris-attack-charlie- hebdo-massacre-suspects-manhunt/26784141.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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