الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Bloody end to sieges in France

Raids on French siege sites

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Footage captures the moment police raids ended both sieges

French police have stormed two hostage sites in the Paris area, killing three hostage takers.

Two brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday were killed at a warehouse where they had held a hostage north of Paris.

In the second incident, in eastern Paris, anti-terrorist forces stormed a kosher supermarket where hostages were being held by a gunman with reported links to the brothers.

The gunman and four hostages died.

French police do not believe that the captives were killed during the assault, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters late on Friday. He said an investigation into the deaths was under way.

Another four hostages were seriously injured when police stormed the Hypercasher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes. Fifteen were safely released.

Two police officers were injured in the rescue operation, AP reported.

It was launched almost at the same time as the assault in Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) north of Paris. A hostage at the warehouse was freed while a police officer was injured.



Francois Hollande

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President Hollande praised the security forces – and called on the French people to be vigilant



President Obama speaking about Paris attacks while in Tennessee

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Obama: “The United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow”

French President Francois Hollande described the events as “a tragedy for the nation”.

In a televised address, he thanked the security forces for their “bravery [and] efficiency”, but added that France still faced threats. “We have to be vigilant. I also ask you to be united – it’s our best weapon,” he said.

“We must be implacable towards racism,” he added, saying that the supermarket attack was an “appalling anti-Semitic act”.

“Those who committed these acts, these fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim faith.”

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there had been a “clear failing” in French intelligence.

“If 17 people die, this means mistakes have been made,” he said, including those killed in attacks on Wednesday and Thursday in the toll.

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Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015 Police stormed the Vincennes supermarket on Friday evening

The actions of France’s highly trained GIGN counter-terrorist police brought a swift end to a double hostage crisis that began 53 hours earlier with the armed raid on the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo.

But a number of important questions remain. Was this attack planned and orchestrated from abroad and if so by whom? Is there any credence to claims made by the gunmen before they died that they were linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen and to Islamic State, two sometimes competing organisations? And what was the real target here, Charlie Hebdo or the entire French nation?

Questions are already being asked of French police and intelligence about how the two Kouachi brothers, well-known for their extremist views and already on US and European no-fly watchlists, were left free to acquire assault rifles and carry out the murderous raid on 7 January.

Beyond this, France has a deeper problem, coping with a growing number of violent jihadists who will see this week as only the beginning.

France sieges end: Eyewitness accounts

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The police assaults came after three tense days in France.

Twelve people were shot dead and 11 were injured in Wednesday’s attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine.

The unprecedented attack shocked France and there has been an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity worldwide.

The two suspects of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, then went on the run, before being surrounded at Dammartin.

Prosecutor Molins said they came out of the warehouse firing at police as night fell on Friday. Officers returned fire, killing them, he said.

The hostage taker in Paris has been named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32. It is not clear whether he had an accomplice.

Police on the roof of a building in Dammartin-en-Goele, 9 January 2015Police surrounded the warehouse north of Paris after a two-day manhunt

Police and hostages at a kosher food store in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, 9 January, 2013A number of hostages were freed from the food store in eastern Paris

He knew one of the suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers and their respective partners had been in regular contact in recent months, Mr Molins said.

During Friday’s siege Coulibaly had threatened to kill his captives if police attempted to capture the brothers, he added.

Earlier on Friday, a man claiming to be Coulibaly told French TV station BFMTV that he was a member of the Islamic State militant group, and that he had “co-ordinated” his attack with the Kouachi brothers.

Coulibaly was also suspected of being behind the shooting of a policewoman in the southern suburb of Montrouge on Thursday.

Police are still looking for Coulibaly’s partner, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.

A call for witnesses released by the Paris Prefecture de Police January 9, 2015 shows the photos of Hayat Boumeddiene (L) and Amedy Coulibaly, who are considered to be armed and dangerous, and are actively being sought in the shooting death of a woman police in Montrouge, near Paris

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How the day unfolded (all times GMT)

07:00 – The Kouachi brothers hijack a car in Montagny-Sainte-Felicite, north of Paris. They are said to be carrying weapons including a rocket launcher.

08:30 – Pursued by police along the N2 road towards Paris, they take refuge in a printing works in Dammartin-en-Goele. They take a man hostage as police surround the building.

12:15 – As the siege continues, a man identified as Amedy Coulibaly takes several people hostage at a supermarket near Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris. Coulibaly is also suspected of having shot dead a police officer on Thursday.

16:00 – Police storm the siege scene in Dammartin. Both suspects are killed and the hostage freed.

16:15 -Security forces move into the shop in Paris and kill Coulibaly. It emerges that four hostages at the supermarket have also been killed, but 15 others are freed.

18:55 – Addressing the nation, President Hollande calls for France to “remain vigilant” and praises the “courage, bravery and efficiency” of the police forces.

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