Update 2:30 pm:
In the hours after the dramatic saga at a kosher supermarket in Paris ended with French SWAT killing the gunman during a raid on Friday evening, new details emerge about the complex operation to free the hostages.
According to media reports, Amedy Coulibaly, an associate of the two brothers responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, was only eliminated after police successfully connected to the supermarket’s security cameras and saw the suspect kneel down to pray.
French media reported the 32-year-old suspect shot and killed three people with his entry into the kosher store, before taking the remaining customers hostage. Some managed to escape into the freezers, and went unnoticed by the gunman. At least one managed to contact a family member.
Sky News reported that French police hooked up to the CCTV cameras at the kosher market, enabling officers to closely track the developments throughout the saga – which began at 2:30 pm and ended with the dramatic raid shortly after 6 pm.
At 5:53 pm, as special forces were preparing their respective raids, the French interior ministry said that they intended to negotiate with the hostage-takers, warning the incident could take hours – or even days – before reaching a resolution.
At that same moment, the French television networks halted their live broadcasts from the scene – as per the police’s request – and journalists were pulled back from the area.
Then, shortly before 6 pm, the Kouachi brothers left the factory and opened fire on the forces surrounding the complex. The SWAT teams returned fire, killing the two terrorists. Two police officers were wounded in the exchange, and it was reported one succumbed to his wounds.
According to reports, the raids were not planned ahead of time and only began following the gunfire of the terrorist brothers. But the moment the first incident occurred, the signal was given for the dramatic raid on the kosher mart in Paris.
Explosions and gunshots were heard on the scene as the SWAT forces entered and eliminated Amedy Coulibaly, freeing at least five hostages, including a baby. Two police officers were wounded in the raid.
After neutralizing the threat, the French police were horrified to discover the bodies of four hostages, shot in cold blood, and four hostages critically wounded.
French President Hollande confirmed that four people were killed in the siege in the Vincennes Kosher supermarket. It is unclear if this number includes the hostage-taker.
“It is indeed an appalling anti-Semitic act that was committed,” he said of the hostage-taking by an Islamist gunman at the Hyper Cacher supermarket in the Vincennes district.
“I want to salute the police and and all those who participated in the operations. I want to tell them we are proud of you,” Hollande adds, saying they they saved the hostages and “neutralized” the terrorists.
By COLlive reporter
French security forces have stormed the kosher grocery Hyper Cacher in Paris and reportedly killed the terrorists holding 5 people hostage.
Police at the scene of the grocery store siege in eastern Paris shouted “get down!” and “we’ve got him,” video from CNN affiliate BFMTV show.
Police could be seen leaving the eastern Paris grocery store, where hostages were being held, with people late Friday afternoon.
Cherif and Said Kouachi — the suspects in the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo — have been killed in by security forces, Otis Mayor Bernard Corneille said.
The Reuters news agency says that 4 hostages were killed, but France 24 television station says that the 4 hostages are critically wounded, but are not dead.
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Names for Tehillim for hostages:
שמואל יצחק בן שרה
מרדכי בן מיה
אנדרי בת סוזן
זרי בת סוזן
Shmuel Yitzchak ben Sara
Mordechai ben Maya
Andrea bas Susan
Zeri bas Susan Shoshana
Noach ben Sarah
Meryl bas Nancy
Sarah bas Louna