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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 22 March, 2019
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Source: FRANCE 24 English/YouTube

There was chaos in France today as police dealt with two live hostage situations. We kept you updated on all developments throughout the day in this liveblog. 

A summary of the main developments in France today… 

  • Police launched two simultaneous assaults on separate hostage situations in Paris and Dammartin, a suburban town 40kms northeast of the city.
  • Charlie Hebdo suspects, brothers Chérif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, were killed in the assault.
  • Their hostage was freed and is safe.
  • One of the hostage takers in a kosher supermarket in Paris, Amedi Coulibaly, was killed in the police assault.
  • Four hostages died in the store with another four critically wounded. 
  • Up to 15 hostages were taken, including a number of children, who were eventually rescued.
  • The gunman in the Paris store is linked to the shooting dead of a policewoman yesterday.
  • His girlfriend and suspected accomplice is still on the loose.
  • Links have been established between Coulibaly and the Charlie Hebdo gunmen.
  • An event has been organised to take place in Paris this Sunday, with European leaders expected to attend.

11.10pm: AFP reports tonight:

As the drama reached its climax, chilling links emerged showing the brothers, identified as Cherif and Said Kouachi, and supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly were close allies and had worked together. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Coulibaly had “threatened to kill all the hostages” if police moved in on the Kouachi brothers, and he had said the supermarket was booby-trapped.The three all had a radical past and were known to French intelligence.

It also said that at the printing business in Dammartin-en-Goele, the brothers took the store manager hostage, later releasing him after he helped Said with his wound, while a second man hid upstairs, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

The men had a hefty cache of arms including Molotov cocktails and a loaded rocket-launcher.

One witness described a terrifying face-to-face encounter with one of the suspects, dressed in black, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying what looked like a Kalashnikov.

The salesman told France Info radio that one of the brothers said: “‘Leave, we don’t kill civilians anyhow’.”

The French police have released this video of the scene at Dammartin-en-Goele:

Source: Gendarmerie nationale/YouTube

Francois Molins revealed that Coulibaly and Boumedienne had spoken more than 500 times to the Kouachi brothers over the phone, The Guardian reports.

Molins also said it was likely that four of the hostages who perished were killed before the police entered the Kosher market, but rather when the gunman entered the building.

There are five people in detention. They include the wife of one of the Kouachi brothers.

Here’s how things unfolded throughout the day:

Two hostage situations are taking place in France at the same time, with police forces reporting full attendances at work.

@Fiaxhs on Twitter, who lives near the kosher store, has been posting images of the scene.

He has since said he will allow police to get on with their jobs and post text updates only.

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Here is a close-up of the images released by French police over yesterday’s ‘terror incident’ during which a police officer lost her life.

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The latest from AFP on those two suspects – who are also thought to

They were named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, and are considered “armed and dangerous”. At least two people have been killed in the stand-off at the grocery store, according to official sources.

France24 reports that Coulibaly is linked to the two attackers in the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

More details now emerging about Coulibaly, who police sources say has taken at least five hostages at a kosher supermarket, including connections to the shooting of a policewoman in Paris yesterday and the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices.

There are now clear indications that all three terror attacks in Paris over the past three days are linked.

France24 have discussed a link between three of the suspects through terror networks in Yemen.

Local media are now reporting that the Trocadero evacuation came after a ‘false alarm’. Julien Pain is a top editor with France24. Quoting the Interior Ministry, he says:

Coulibaly, the suspect in the policewoman killing yesterday and the hostage situation at the Jewish supermarket, is being profiled now by French media.

He is described as a 32 year old with a history of crime, including theft and drug-dealing. His name was also linked to the attempted prison break in 2010 of Smaïn Aït Ali Belkacem who bombed Paris Metro in 1995.

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Stores across the Jewish quarter in Paris have closed as a precaution after hostages were taken at a kosher store in Vincennes.

The Mayor of the 4th arrondissement said on Twitter that the shops would close.

As a precaution the Mayor & Police Commissioner called for the immediate closure of all street shops des Rosiers.

Back to Dammartin … where the Charlie Hebdo suspects are holed up at at a printing business in the small town.

This powerful image shows children in their local school, waiting for police to give the green light so they can be safely moved to a location where their parents will pick them up.

More human faces of this horrific chain of events.

France Newspaper Attack Source: Peter Dejong

The children were eventually escorted out of their schools.

France Newspaper Attack Source: Peter Dejong

France Newspaper Attack Source: Peter Dejong

More on those Yemeni connections of the Paris attackers. Confirmation from officials in the country.

A recap on the four suspects: 

Chérif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, aged 32 and 34, are suspected of killing 12 people after storming the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

They are now surrounded by police in Dammartin, 40kms northeast of Paris, but are holding a hostage. Talks between investigators and the pair are ongoing.

The brothers have both said they are willing to ‘die as martyrs’.

One of the brothers, Said, is suspected to have fought for Al Qaeda in Yemen, while Cherif was also involved in jihadist groups.

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Amedy Coulibaly, aged 32, is suspected of killing a French police officer yesterday and is thought to be the man keeping hostages at a Jewish store.

He has been convicted of firearm-related incidents, theft and drug-dealing. He was well known to authorities during his earlier life but on converting to Islam, he seemed to have reformed.

However, he soon became radicalised. Local media are reporting that he was part of the same jihadist group as Chérif Kouachi. There is a picture emerging that they were friends.

suspects

Hayat Boumeddiene is 26 years old. She is the girlfriend of Coulibaly, according to Le Monde which reports they have been involved since 2010. French media haven’t discovered much about her yet, except that she did wear a veil.

As more people try to dig up information on the four people police are looking to take into custody, this incredible article has come to light.

Tweeted by the Deputy Head of Der Spiegel’s foreign desk, Mathieu Von Rohr, it depicts Coulibaly five years ago – just before he was about to meet then-President Sarkozy.

At the time, he was working for Coca-Cola.

Gunfire has been reported at Dammartin-En-Goele. Sky News pictures show smoke rising from where the hostage situation is believed to be taking place.

Reports say that the operation to free the hostages in Dammartin has reached its “end-game” and more police have arrived within the last hour.

TV images show at least three people on the roof of the printing company in Dammartin where the Koauchi brothers are believed to have taken hostages.

AFP reports that the storming of the printing company was carried out by French commandos.

Sky’s Kay Burley says that “four very loud explosions” have been heard at the kosher supermarket in Vincennes.

In Dammartin, police are on the roof, but details of the assault remain scant.

France Newspaper Attack Source: Peter Dejong

Again, AFP reports that the assault on the supermarket in Paris has been carried out by French commandos.

Sky News say that journalists are being moved back “urgently” in Eastern Paris. They add that mobile phone signals are being scrambled.

AFP, citing sources, is reporting that the Koauchi brothers, suspects in Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo massacre, have been killed.

AFP also says that “several” hostages have been freed from the supermarket in Paris.

France24 is now reporting that the two hostages in Dammartin have been released safely.

A member of France’s special forces has reportedly been injured in the Dammartin assault. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Associated Press, citing a police official have confirmed that Said and Cherif Kouachi, who killed 12 people at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, are dead.

The Kouachi brothers came out firing at security forces, AFP says.

The hostage-taker at the supermarket in Vincennes has been killed, it is being reported.

Amedi Coulibaly, the hostage taker in the Paris supermarket, has been killed, AFP says, citing a security source.

This was the scene as police stormed the HyperCacher in Vincennes.

Reuters reports that four hostages have been killed in the assault on the kosher supermarket in Paris.

AFP says that the scenes in Dammartin and Paris “resemble warzones”.

AFP reports that four more people were left critically injured in the supermarket siege. It is not known if they were police or hostages.

It is not clear as yet whether the hostages died before or during the raid on the supermarket.

French media is now reporting that the second suspect in the kosher supermarket is an second, as yet unknown, male.

The unknown second male has escaped, French media say.

The woman, Hayat Boumeddiene, who had earlier been reported as the second hostage-taker, now appears not to have been involved, though police are still seeking her in connection with the shooting of a policeman yesterday.

AFP reports from the scene in Vincennes:

“It’s war!” screamed a mother as she dragged her daughter from the scene.

The supermarket gunman, Amedi Coulibaly, told a television station he was a member of the Islamic State group, AFP is reporting.

He added that he had “coordinated with” the Kouachi brothers.

French President Francois Hollande is holding a press conference right now. He has said “we’ve got to have no pity against anti-Semitism, because it is an anti-Semitic attack that was carried out”.

These fanatics “have nothing to do with Islam and religion”, he added.

“We are a nation that is not scared, that is not frightened”

Hollande told the French nation that all necessary means will be implemented to protect French people following the incidents.

He said that many heads of State will join him at a solidarity march which is planned for Sunday.

Hollande also praised the courage and efficiency of the police, SWAT and other teams involved in the efforts to free the hostages and locate the perpetrators of the attacks.

He appealed to French people not to be frightened during this time.

To clarify – when Hollande was speaking about an ‘anti-Semitic’ attack, he was referring to the attack on Vincennes.

He said in his speech that protection of public spaces was reinforced, “to guarantee that we can live quietly, in peace”. But he said that “we must remain vigilant”.

plantu

Plantu, a cartoonist with le Monde, is speaking to France 24. He said that the attack was “expected”.

“When people say this is so unexpected, it is expected,” said Plantu, adding that he has met cartoonists in Denmark who are effectively on house arrest over threats to them.

The cartoonist described the Charlie Hebdo staff as “immensely talented artists”, saying that the “greatest names in satirical artists” were taken down by the killers at Charlie Hebdo.

“We as artists don’t have many resources to construct this pedagogy, this dialogue between Christians and Jews and Muslims,”, he said. Plantu said that when he does a drawing criticising Israel over attacks on Gaza, he finds anti-semitic drawings on his Facebook.

A new image has emerged from Paris, showing hostages escaping the kosher grocery store.

If you look in the middle, to the left, you’ll see a small child being held by a man, accompanied by officers:

France Newspaper Attack Source: AP/Press Association Images

France Market Attack Source: Michel Euler

Another photo showing the small child – and the clearly distressed man holding him. This is taken from outside the kosher market, where a gunman held at least five people hostage. Four died in this incident.

CNN is reporting that there is a “massive search” underway for the woman who is reportedly a suspect in the Paris hostage-taking situation.

It quotes a police union spokesman as saying that the woman, Hayat Boumeddiene, was the alleged accomplice of the hostage-taker at the grocery store.

This man has already been named as Amedy Coulibaly, aged 32. He is believed to have died.

Here’s Obama’s take on the situation:

While in Knoxville, Tennessee, he said he is being kept up-to-date with the events as they unfold.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron has been named as one of the European leaders who intend on taking part in the unity rally in Paris this Sunday:

The Guardian reports that the editor of Charlie Hebdo, Gérard Briard, said that there will not be an obituary for his colleagues in the next issue. He made the comments on the Libération website.

Many weekly magazines across the world have been paying their own tributes to the Charlie Hebdo staff.

Here’s The New Yorker’s take:

new-yorker-coverl-366x500 Source: Thejournal

And Der Spiegel:

According to AFP, two of the gunmen talked to BFMTV station before they were killed today.

Coulibaly allegedly told the French channel that he had “co-ordinated” the attacks with the Kouachi brothers.

“They took Charlie Hebdo, me the police” he said.

Meanwhile, Kouachi, the younger sibling said that they were on a mission from the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda.

He said that a trip he made to Yemen in 2011 was financed by American-Yemeni radical Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike in September that year.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that the week’s events show the security failings in France.

The Associated Press reports that an Al-Qaeda member in Yemen has taken credit for the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The member provided to The Associated Press a statement in English saying “the leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully.”

He says the attack was in line with warnings from the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to the West about “the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslim sanctities”

He said the group has delayed its declaration of responsibility for “security reasons.”

He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the group’s regulations.

AFP now reports that the gunman in the supermarket was on his phone to others, urging more attacks.

This footage, which some viewers may find distressing, shows officers storming the supermarket.

*WARNING: Graphic content*

Source: islam salam/YouTube

AFP reports that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and French President Francois Hollande have pledged to work more closely to stamp out the threat of terrorism.

You might remember that in October of last year, Canada was rocked by two ‘lone wolf’ attacks that led to the deaths of two soldiers.

In a telephone conversation, “the two leaders condemned the attacks and spoke of the importance of cooperating to counter the scourge of extremism and terrorism,” Harper’s office said in a statement.

Harper also offered condolences and “indicated that Canada stands in solidarity with France as it mourns this senseless loss of life and reiterated that Canada and its allies will not be intimidated by those who threaten peace, freedom, including freedom of the press, and democracy.”

Asterix creator, Albert Uderzo, has come out of retirement to draw this ‘Je suis Charlie’ cartoon. Here’s more from the Independent:

The images have been published in French newspaper Le Figaro, where Uderzo is quoted as saying: “I am not changing my work, I simply want to express my affection for the cartoonists that paid for their work with their lives.”

The girlfriend of Stephane Charbonnier, the murdered Charlie Hebdo editor, has given an interview about her partner’s death.

The Daily Mail says that Jeanette Bougrab says that she begged Charbonnier to leave France, but he wouldn’t. She feared for his life because of his career.

A silent walk will take place in Dublin tomorrow to show support for the people of France. More information can be found at the Facebook page.

The organisers say:

This is about showing all the victims, that they didn’t suffer for nothing. This is about showing all the journalists around the world, that we acknowledge their work and that we know what they are doing for us. This is about showing the world that we do not need guns to feel free and that we are strong because we are united.

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