الإثنين , يونيو 8 2020

Charlie Hebdo attack: Three days of terror

A huge police operation in France has brought to an end a series of terror attacks in and around Paris.

In co-ordinated operations on Friday, security forces first stormed a warehouse north of the capital, killing two brothers – Said and Cherif Kouachi – suspected of carrying out Wednesday’s deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Minutes later, in eastern Paris, police burst into a Jewish supermarket in the Vincennes district where a gunman linked to the Kouachi brothers had killed four people and taken several more hostages.

Here is what we know about what happened:

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Breaking the sieges
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Snipers at Dammartin-en-Goele siege

Police and army forces take positions in Dammartin-en-Goele

Police storm kosher supermarket in Paris
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On the morning of Friday 9 January, a massive manhunt entered its final phase as police closed in on the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects at Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) from Paris.

Hundreds of armed officers surrounded a building owned by a printing firm, where Said and Cherif Kouachi – the former bleeding from a bullet wound to the neck – had fled following a car chase.

The small town was transformed into a scene resembling a war zone as elite forces deployed snipers, helicopters and military equipment – sealing off any means of escape for the suspected killers and beginning a tense, eight-hour stand-off.

Map of siege situation in Dammartin-en-Goele

Just before 17:00 local time, the impasse was ended in dramatic fashion. Smoke was seen rising from the printworks amid the sounds of explosions and gunfire. The two brothers – who had told local media they would die “martyrs'” deaths – emerged from the building, firing at police. Both suspects were killed, and two police officers were injured.

It later emerged the brothers had released a hostage and that another man had survived the incident by hiding in the building’s cafeteria, unknown to the attackers, apparently communicating intelligence to police by text message.

French special forces raid

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Dramatic footage shows special forces approaching the printing firm

With attention fixed on Dammartin-en-Goele, there was suddenly drama in the French capital.

At about 17:15 local time, explosions were heard at the Paris supermarket as special forces moved against Amedy Coulibaly, who had threatened to kill hostages unless the Kouachi brothers were allowed to go free.

Reports said Coulibaly had just knelt for evening prayers when elite commandos stormed the supermarket, shooting the gunman dead and freeing 15 hostages from the store. They and found the bodies of four hostages said to have been killed before the assault.

Map showing hostage taking
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Petrol station reported to have been robbed by the suspects
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A major breakthrough in the hunt for the Charlie Hebdo suspects had come at about at 10:30 local time on Thursday, when the fugitives robbed a service station near Villers-Cotterets, in the Aisne region.

The pair – said by the station manager to have been armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenade launchers – fired shots as they stole food and petrol from the roadside stop, before driving off towards Paris in the same Renault Clio car hijacked at the time of Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

It appears the pair then led police on a chase around north-eastern France, with the anti-terror operation later moving to nearby Crepy-en-Valois and the villages of Corcy and Longpont.

On Friday morning, after commandeering another vehicle in the town of Montagny Sainte Felicite, Said Kouachi was hit in the neck in a shootout with police. A high speed chase ensued as the police pursued the pair along the N2 road towards Paris ending as the brothers sought refuge in the printworks where that afternoon the manhunt would reach its bloody conclusion.

The violent end to the hunt surprised few after the events of the previous days. In a bulletin informing the public that arrest warrants had been issued for Cherif and Said Kouachi police said they should be considered armed and dangerous.

French police released photos of the Kouachi brothers - Cherif (L) and Said (R)Brothers Cherif (L) and Said Kouachi

French media say Cherif Kouachi, 32, was a convicted Islamist who was jailed in 2008 and had long been known to police for militant activities.

As the brothers were hunted in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, police detained 16 people believed to be connected to them, including members of their family, in the towns of Reims and Charleville-Mezieres, as well as in the Paris area. One of those detained is the wife of one of the brothers.

Siege at Dammartin-en-Goele

Supermarket hostage taking
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Police surround supermarket where gunman holds hostages
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The supermarket hostage situation began as officers closed in on the Kouachi brothers on Friday afternoon when a gunman burst in to a kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes area of eastern Paris, firing an automatic weapon.

Police shut surrounding roads and all shops in the famed Jewish neighbourhood of the Marais in central Paris were ordered to close down.

It was just a few hours before the start of the Jewish Sabbath, and the attacker – later identified as Amedy Coulibaly, declared to staff and shoppers: “You know who I am.”

Coulibaly was also suspected to be have been behind the shooting of a policewoman in the southern suburb of Montrouge on Thursday morning.

At about 08:45 a lone gunman armed with a machine-gun and a pistol had shot dead the policewoman and injured a man before fleeing.

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Scene of shooting of policewoman in Montrouge
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In an appeal for witnesses to shooting, police said they were looking for Coulibaly and a woman called Hayat Boumeddiene, who was believed to be his partner.

Hayat Boumeddiene, left, and Amedy Coulibaly in images released by police during the kosher supermarket siege in Paris - 9 January 2015Police are still searching for Hayat Boumeddiene, left, who is said to be gunman Amedy Coulibaly’s partner

While the French authorities initially dismissed any suggestion of a link between the shooting and the Charlie Hebdo killings, they later said they were connected. Boumeddiene and the companion of one of the Kouachi brothers had exchanged about 500 phone calls, the authorities said.

The Charlie Hebdo attack

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Charlie Hebdo offices
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France’s trauma began at 11:30 local time on Wednesday, when a black Citroen C3 drove up to the Charlie Hebdo building in Rue Nicolas-Appert.

Two masked gunmen, dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles got out and approached the offices.

They burst into number 6, Rue Nicolas-Appert, before realising they had the wrong address. They then moved down the street to number 10 – where the Charlie Hebdo offices are on the second floor.

Once inside, the men asked maintenance staff in reception where the magazine’s offices were, before shooting caretaker Frederic Boisseau, 42.

One of the magazine’s cartoonists, Corinne Rey, described how she had just returned to the building after picking up her daughter from day care when the gunmen threatened her, forcing her to enter the code for the keypad entry to the newsroom on the second floor – where a weekly editorial meeting was taking place.

The men asked for the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier – known as Charb – by name before opening fire and killing the editor and his police bodyguard, Franck Brinsolaro. They also shot dead seven other journalists and a guest attending the meeting.

Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Greatest” in Arabic (“Allahu Akbar”) while calling out the names of the journalists.

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Continue reading the main storyThe Charlie Hebdo victims

Top row, from left: Stephane Charb Charbonnier, Jean Cabu Cabut, Georges Wolinski, Bernard Tignous Verlhac. Middle row, from left: Philippe Honore,  Elsa Cayat, Bernard Maris, Michel Renaud. Bottom row: Mustapha Ourrad

In total 12 people were killed in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices: eight journalists, two police officers, a caretaker and a visitor.

  • Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, who had been living under police protection since receiving death threats
  • Cartoonists Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73
  • Elsa Cayat, psychoanalyst and columnist, the only woman killed
  • Economist and regular magazine columnist Bernard Maris, 68, known to readers as Uncle Bernard
  • Michel Renaud, who was visiting from the city of Clermont-Ferrand
  • Mustapha Ourrad, proof-reader
  • Frederic Boisseau, 42, caretaker, who was in the reception area at the time of the attack (his photo has not been released)
  • Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, who acted as Charb’s bodyguard, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, who was shot dead while on the ground (their photos have not been released)

Shots at police

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Gunmen shoot at police
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Police, alerted to a shooting incident, arrived at the scene as the gunmen were leaving the building.

A police car blocked the gunmen’s escape route down the narrow street Allee Vert and the gunmen opened fire.

Journalists and workers who had taken refuge on nearby rooftops filmed the gunmen getting out of the car, walking and shooting at the police vehicle, before driving off.

The police car’s windscreen was riddled with bullets but the officers escaped unhurt.

Rooftop footage

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Footage taken from a rooftop in Paris shows two gunmen firing shots

Police officer killed

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Gunman in street
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The black Citroen is thought to have driven south down the Boulevard Richard Lenoir, before doubling back on the northern carriageway. The car stopped and video footage shows the gunmen got out of the vehicle and shot police officer Ahmed Merabet, 42.

One of the attackers then walked up to the officer lying injured on the pavement and killed him at close range before returning to the car and driving away with his accomplice.

Gunmen getting into car

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Video uploaded to YouTube shows the attackers fleeing after shooting a police officer

Car abandoned
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Abandoned car
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The getaway car was found abandoned – after having crashed into another car a short time later in Rue de Meaux, about 3km north of the Charlie Hebdo offices. Investigators later found Molotov cocktails and two jihadist flags in the car, French media reported.

The attackers hijacked another car, a grey Renault Clio. Shortly before midday on Thursday the police lost track of the gunmen.

Paris was put on maximum alert, with a major police operation and an additional 500 police deployed on the streets of the capital.

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