Police stormed a kosher supermarket on the eastern edge of Paris on Friday, killing a gunman linked to the killing of a policewoman and a deadly attack on a French satirical newspaper and freeing multiple hostages.
The hours-long standoff ended amid gunshots and an explosion near the supermarket Friday evening in Paris at the same time explosions and smoke rattled a small printing warehouse northeast of the city where the two brothers suspected in the Wednesday shooting of Charlie Hebdo were holed up in a second hostage standoff in France.
The two brothers – Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34 – were killed in the shootout with police, and the hostage they had taken was freed, police said.
Earlier, two were killed in the market as the gunman opened fire with an automatic rifle at the supermarket near Paris’ Porte de Vincennes – one of the main Jewish communities in the city, according to multiple media outlets. However, the French Interior Ministry denied the reports. Several others were wounded, police said.
A police official had told the Associated Press the supermarket gunman was threatening to kill hostages if authorities launched an assault the two brothers in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, located about 30 miles northeast of Paris.
The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the dual hostage situations, described the events as “clearly linked.” The gunman declared “you know who I am,” according to the police official.
A police bulletin named two suspects in Thursday’s shooting of policewoman Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, as Hayat Boumeddiene, 26 and Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Boumeddiene is believed to be the girlfriend of Coulibaly, according to Le Monde.
The official speaking to the Associated Press named Coulibaly as the market hostage-taker and linked him to Wednesday’s massacre that left 12 dead, including two police officers. Boumeddiene is believed to be his accomplice, the official said.Boumeddiene’s whereabouts and link to the supermarket attack are unclear.
Police ordered all shops along Rosiers Street in the famed Jewish neighborhood of Marais in central Paris closed, and the council representing Jewish institutions in France advised its members not to take any risks.
The Grand Synagogue of Paris, the French capital’s largest place of Jewish worship, closed as the hostage situation unfolded. A caretaker at the door said the entire synagogue had been emptied out for security reasons.
Sacha Reingewirtz, 28, president of the French Jewish Student Union, said France is a dangerous place for people who clearly show they are Jewish.
“What the government is doing to protect us is not enough. I refuse to have Jews here living behind walls in fear of their lives,” he said. “We need more than a security plan but an educational plan to fight against stereotypes.”
The tense situation in the supermarket developed as the Kouachi brothers, suspectedin the Charlie Hebdo terror attack, were cornered in a small industrial town northeast of Paris early Friday and told police they wanted to die as martyrs. The two took refuge in a small printing warehouse in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, located about 30 miles northeast of Paris, before police moved in.
A senior French police official told the New York Times Coulibaly is linked to the Kouachi brothers.
“We are sure that Coulibaly was in connection with the Kouachi brothers,” police officialChristophe Tirante said. “They knew each other and met several times. They are from the same generation.”
Coulibaly had frequent contact with the Kouachi brothers within the jihadist elements of Paris district Buttes-Chaumont, which revolved around the mosque there, French broadcaster RTL reported.
However, there was not necessarily coordination between the two attacks, according to police, the broadcaster said.
Two others were detained Thursday in connection with the shooting death of Jean-Philippe in Montrouge, located in the southern Parisian suburbs.
Parisians remained on edge as the two hostage-taking standoffs unfolded.
“I hope this will come to an end soon, that they are arrested and that violence stops,” said graphic designer Elena Bucher, 45. “I hope they will be tried in a court of justice, not killed.”
“We cannot continue living in fear,” she added.