The scene of Friday’s hostage crisis at a kosher grocery in eastern Paris. Credit: YouTube screenshot.
(JNS.org) Brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, the two Islamist terrorists suspected to have carried out the shooting that killed 12 people at the the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, were killed Friday in a police raid on a printing shop in the Paris suburb of Dammartin-en-Goele, where the Kouachi brothers had taken one man hostage. In a separate but simultaneous raid, Muslim terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who took nearly 20 hostages at a kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood of eastern Paris, was also killed by French police.
French President Francois Hollande confirmed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that at least four hostages were killed in Coulibaly’s siege on the Hyper Cacher supermarket, while 15 hostages were freed.
According to French police, Coulibaly was a close associate of Cherif Kouachi and may have been involved in the Charlie Hebdo attack. Coulibaly also murdered a French police officer on Thursday.
French police believe that a fourth terrorist identified as Hayat Boumeddiene, who is suspected to have been at the kosher supermarket with Coulibaly, escaped during the raid and is on the run.
“What happened over the past 48 hours was a shock to the entire French nation. It was our 9/11,” said Simone Rodan-Benazquen, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris branch.
Malcolm Hoenlein and Robert S. Sugarman, leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, “We call upon the government of France as well as other European governments to act decisively and comprehensively to root out those who had any involvement or provided support for the escalating terrorist attacks. There must be a total commitment to bring to bear all the resources, both public and private, to end the scourge that has taken so many lives and hurt many more.
“The urgency to confront the Islamist extremist infrastructure is underscored by the presence of the many hundreds of young French fighters in Syria who are being trained to kill and carry out barbaric acts,” Hoenlein and Sugarman added. “All civilized nations should be joining together to create a solid wall of opposition that will honestly and forthrightly confront the root of the terrorism and extremism.”
Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees, said that “we deplore these violent attacks, not just against Jews and Jewish institutions but against the people of France and all those who value freedom and democracy… Together, as a global community, we must find a way to move past this horrible specter of hatred and violence.”
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