France: Heartbreak as deadly siege ends, search for suspect continues – CNN
(CNN)France grappled with more heartbreak as another day of blood and horror ended with more deaths on Friday. The search continued for the only remaining suspect in the recent attacks.
Police killed three suspects during raids on Friday — one wanted in the fatal shooting of a policewoman and four hostages, the other two in the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine.
The attack at the Paris office of the satirical magazine left 12 dead on Wednesday.
“The nation is relieved tonight,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday.
But the French government’s work is not over.
There’s still a lot of healing to do, a lot of questions to answer on preventing future attacks. And a woman wanted in the policewoman’s shooting is still afoot.
Charlie Hebdo attackers
The flurry of deadly events Friday started in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the suspects in the magazine attacks, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, went to a print shop in an industrial area.
After they walked into the shop, a salesman identified only as Didier told France Info radio that he inadvertently shook one of the gunman’s hands when the pair arrived.
The salesman said he thought the heavily armed man dressed in black was a police officer.
As Didier left, the armed man said, “Go, we don’t kill civilians.” Didier said, “It wasn’t normal. I didn’t know what was going on.”
Police swoop in
It’s unclear who alerted police to their whereabouts. The area went on locked down — with children stuck in schools, roads closed and shops shuttered. Squads of police in tactical gear, convoys of police vans and a medical team ambulance filled Sammartin de Goele’s streets.
The gunmen holed up at the warehouse told police they wanted to die as martyrs, Yves Albarello, who is in France’s Parliament, said on channel iTele.
Four helicopters landed nearby as men hovered on the roof of the building, and gunshots and explosions erupted.
Soon after, local officials said that the brothers were dead and a man hiding in the building was safe.
Hostages at kosher grocery store
At the same time on Friday, in a different setting, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away, a similar crisis played out at a kosher store.
Amedy Coulibaly — the same man who authorities said killed a policewoman Thursday south of Paris — took a number of hostages there. Hayat Boumeddiene, also accused in the police woman’s killing, remains at large.
Up to 20 heavily armed police officers moved into the store and came out with a number of civilians.
Not everyone made it.
French President Francois Hollande said four people were killed.
Israeli government sources told CNN that Hollande told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that four hostages were killed and 15 were rescued. The four hostages were killed by the gunman before police stormed the market, sources said.
Hollande called the Porte de Vincennes deaths an “anti-Semitic” act and urged citizens not to lash out against Muslims.
“Those who committed these acts have nothing to do with the Muslim religion,” he said. “Unity is our best weapon.”
How did France get here?
A pair of heavily armed men on Wednesday stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine known for its provocative, often profane, take on religion, politics and society.
They burst into a meeting, called out individuals, and executed them. The dead included editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, and four other well-known cartoonists known by the pen names: Cabu, Wolinski, Honore and Tignous.
Authorities followed a lead Thursday morning from a gas station attendant near Villers-Cotterets, whom Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, reportedly threatened as they stole food and gas.
As the suspects moved, French police pursued leads.
Ties to Islamist extremists?
Said Kouachi, the elder brother, spent several months in Yemen in 2011, receiving weapons training and working with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to U.S. officials.
His younger brother, Cherif, has a long history of jihad and anti-Semitism, according to documents obtained by CNN. In a 400-page court record, he is described as wanting to go to Iraq through Syria “to go and combat the Americans.”
Cherif was a close associate of Coulibaly, a Western intelligence source told CNN.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for orchestrating the Charlie Hebdo attack, the founder of the magazine The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, told CNN. CNN has not independently confirmed this claim.
A man claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly, the suspected hostage-taker at the Paris grocery store, told CNN affiliate BFMTV that he belonged to the Islamist militant group ISIS.
The Western intelligence source said Coulibaly lived with Boumeddiene, his alleged accomplice in the police shooting.
What’s next for the magazine?
Charlie Hebdo plans to go on even without its leader and cherished staffers. It’s set to publish thousands of copies of its latest edition next Wednesday.
“I don’t know if I’m afraid anymore, because I’ve seen fear. I was scared for my friends, and they are dead,” said Patrick Pelloux, a columnist for the magazine.
He and many others are defiant.
“I know that they didn’t want us to be quiet,” Pelloux said of the slain colleagues. “They would be assassinated twice, if we remained silent.”