A rap fan, a student, two family men: below are the profiles of four Jews who were murdered in last Friday’s Islamist terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris.
Buried on Tuesday in Jerusalem with thousands in attendance, they were slain by jihadist Amedy Coulibaly during a five-hour hostage siege that ended when commandos launched an assault on the store, killing the attacker.
Yohan Cohen, 20
In the days before his death, Cohen joined millions of other Facebook users in posting “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) on his page, in homage to the 12 people murdered in last Wednesday’s bloody attack by jihadists on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Two days after that strike, Cohen was among those killed in the assault on the kosher supermarket, where he had worked for about a year. According to the daily Le Parisien, Cohen had taken a gap year to earn money to finance his studies.
Born in October 1994, Cohen lived in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, known locally as “Little Jerusalem,” which was rocked by anti-Semitic violence last July.
A fan of rap and a basketball player, Cohen was the grandson of Jewish Tunisian singer Doukha, who died in December. His Algerian father and his Tunisian mother settled in Sarcelles in the 1960s.
Yoav Hattab, 21
A student pursuing his education in Paris and the son of Tunisia’s chief rabbi, Hattab was sent to France by his parents on the belief that life for a Jew would be safer there than in Tunisia.
Heroically, he tried to disarm Coulibaly when he burst into the store, but after a brief struggle in which he was unable to take away the terrorist’s gun, he was shot in the head, becoming the first of the four victims. Initial reports suggested that Cohen was likely the one who tried to disarm the terrorist, but it appears that it was actually Hattab.
One of seven children born to the rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Tunis and headmaster of the city’s Jewish school, Hattab lived with his aunt in Paris, where he arrived less than a year ago.
His family is no stranger to loss: in 1985 a Tunisian soldier opened fire at the Ghriba synagogue in Djerba killing five people, including Hattab’s mother’s sister, who was 17.
Francois-Michel Saada, 63
Born in Tunis, Saada was a retired senior manager, and a father of two, both of whom live in Israel. Saada had planned on visiting Venice this week to celebrate his wife’s 60th birthday.
“He was an extremely upright man, who led his life for the happiness of his family, who never made a fuss. An exemplary husband and dad,” one of his friends said.
His son Yonatan lit a torch of remembrance at the funeral on Tuesday, saying his father longed to make aliyah to Israel. “He was in love with Israel, he wanted to live here,” he said, his voice breaking. “He’s here now.”
Philippe Braham, 45
Braham was an advertising manager at a computer consultancy.
A religious Jew who attended the Cachin synagogue south of Paris, his children attended a Jewish school in another southern Parisian suburb, Montrouge, where Coulibaly killed a policewoman a day before launching his attack on the supermarket.
Braham is the brother of the rabbi of Paris’s Pantin synagogue, and is described by a friend as “someone who was dedicated, always ready to help others.”
AFP contributed to this report.