Deadly end to sieges in France

Brothers believed behind attack on satirical magazine killed north of Paris, as four hostages and gunman die in capital.

Two suspects believed to have been involved in Wednesday’s attack on a satirical magazine’s office have been killed northeast of Paris, while a gunman who took several hostages at a supermarket in the east of the capital is also dead.

At least four hostages held at the kosher grocery store in Porte De Vincennes also died on Friday as police stormed the site. Speaking to reporters on Friday, the French prosecutor, Francois Molins, said it was likely the hostages had been killed before the police assault.

Earlier on Friday, police said that a man named Amedy Coulibaly was the primary suspect in the kosher store siege. His wife Hayat Boumeddiene was also named as a wanted suspect and accomplice, but her whereabouts were unclear.

“[Taking into account] declarations made once again to a TV station by [Amedy] Coulibaly saying – and I quote ‘I have killed four of them’ – and pending the result of the autopsy, we can suppose that none of the hostages were killed during the assault launched by law enforcement officers and that the deaths occurred at the hand of the terrorist when he entered the supermarket,” Molins said.

Seven people, including three police officers, were injured in the supermarket raid.

Police said that the grocery store gunman had threatened to kill the hostages if police launched an assault on two brothers holed up in Dammartin-en-Goele after being on the run for two days following the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. 

Hayat Boumeddiene (L) and Amedy Coulibaly (R) [AFP]

The brothers – identified as 32-year-old Said Kouachi and 34-year-old Cherif Kouachi – died in a simultaneous operation in the French town, where they had been cornered by police inside a printing house after taking a hostage. The hostage was unharmed.

Police say the brothers came out of their hideaway with guns blazing, and were killed in a shoot-out.

“The two brothers did not answer calls of negotiators,” Molins told reporters. “[They] came out with rifle guns and started firing on police
who replied with fire and hit the two brothers, who returned their fire.

“[The police] had to neutralise them.”

Officers earlier reported the brothers as saying they wanted to “die as martyrs”.

Sources connected to aAl-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Friday claimed responsibility for the attack on Charlie Hebdo in a statement to the Associated Press news agency. 

The attack was carried out “as revenge for the honour” of Prophet Muhammad, a member of the group told AP.

An earlier video from AQAP’s leadership had praised the attack, but did not claim responsibility.

Said Kouachi is believed to have travelled to Yemen in 2011 and either received training from or fought alongside the group, according to US and Yemeni officials, AP reported.

If confirmed, the attack would be the first time al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has successfully carried out an operation in the West after at least two earlier attempts.

The group also threatened to carry out further attacks, the AFP news agency reported.

“It is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely. If you refuse but to wage war, then wait for the glad tiding,” AQAP official Harith al-Nadhari was quoted as saying in a video according to monitoring group SITE.

Kosher supermarket suspect

Police said that Coulibaly had links to one of the Kouachi brothers and it was reported that Boumeddiene had called him more than 500 times.

Al Jazeera’s Tim Friend said the calls offered “clear evidence they were coordinating this”.

Coulibaly is also suspected of being the same gunman who killed a policewoman in a shooting in Mountrouge in southern Paris on Thursday.

The dramatic events on Friday followed a nationwide manhunt after 12 people were killed when masked gunmen attacked the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday.

Events leading to the Dammartin-en-Goele siege


  • After the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office on Wednesday, the two gunmen were at-large for almost 24 hours until they were first spotted outside Paris on Thursday.
  • The owner of a petrol station in Villers-Cotterets called the police, claiming to have been robbed by the two suspects at around 9:30 GMT. The men reportedly stole petrol and food. 
  • Almost 24 hours later on Friday, reports came in of a gunfight with police, north of Paris, in Seine-et-Marne, near Dammartin-en-Goele.
  • Police chased the vehicle which they believe the Kouachi brothers hijacked from a woman. The chase ended in the industrial area of Dammartin-en-Goele.
  • A hostage was taken by the gunmen, starting the siege that lasted hours. 
  • The suspects were then surrounded, holed up in a print shop. Later on Friday, the gunmen came out of the shop firing at police and were killed in the shoot-out.

The Kouachi brothers – who are they?

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies