France: from media massacre to massive anti-terror march

11th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

A timeline of the crisis in France following Islamist attacks that killed 17 and shook the country.

WEDNESDAY, January 7:

- Two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles storm the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for satirical caricatures of Islam and other religions, at around 11:30 am (1030 GMT).

- They kill a maintenance man before shooting eight cartoonists and journalists, a police officer protecting editor Charb, and a visitor.

- The attackers climb into a black Citroen and exchange fire with police vehicles, and then coldly execute an injured police officer sprawled on the pavement.

- Following a collision as they head north, they abandon their vehicle, hijack another, and flee from Paris, where police lose their trail.

- France raises its alert status for Paris and northern regions to the highest level of "attack alert".

- Police say they are hunting three men, including two brothers: Cherif and Said Kouachi, 32 and 34 respectively.

The third man suspected of helping the brothers turns himself in and is later released.

THURSDAY, January 8:

- A policewoman is shot by a man just outside Paris and dies. Authorities say the next day that there is a "connection" between the two shootings.

- The Charlie Hebdo suspects rob a petrol station in the northern Aisne region and the owner calls police.

- Investigators find a dozen Molotov cocktails and two jihadist flags in the getaway car.

- Thousands of security personnel are deployed.

- US officials say the Kouachi brothers were on a US no-fly list and that Said had spent a few months training with Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

FRIDAY, January 9:

- Shots are fired during a car chase on the N2 highway northeast of Paris later identified as the Kouachi brothers.

- The men hijack a car from a woman who says she recognised them as the Kouachi brothers.

- One man is taken hostage at a printing business in Dammartin-en-Goele village near Charles de Gaulle airport. Police backed by helicopters swarm the industrial park where it is located.

- Schools near the building are evacuated. The interior ministry says police are trying to "establish contact" with the massacre suspects.

- Another hostage-taking takes place at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris involving a man whom police suspect of the policewoman's murder on Thursday.

- The police release mugshots of the supermarket siege suspect, Amedy Coulibaly, 32, as well as a suspected accomplice, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene.

- As night falls police commandos launch synchronized raids on the printworks in Dammartin-en-Goele and the supermarket in the eastern Paris neighbourhood of Porte de Vincennes. Explosions and gunfire rock both sites.

- The brothers in Dammartin-en-Goele are killed in the assault, with a source telling AFP they ran firing at policemen. Their hostage emerges unharmed.

- In the Jewish supermarket, four people and the hostage-taker are killed, and four are critically injured. Several captives are freed unharmed.

- In telephone calls earlier in the day and reported after the hostage crisis ended Cherif Kouachi tells BFMTV they had been financed by Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

- In a televised speech French President Francois Hollande says France "faced down" Islamists behind the attacks "but has not finished with the threats... I call for vigilance, unity and a mobilisation," he says.

- In a video, a top sharia official from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) threatens France with fresh attacks.

SATURDAY, January 10:

- French forces frantically hunt for the girlfriend of Coulibaly. They eventually say she was likely in Turkey at the time of the attacks, with a Turkish source saying she may already be in Syria.

- Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says France will take "all measures" to ensure the safety of a march in Paris on Sunday to protest the killings, with more than 5,500 police and military being deployed.

- More than 700,000 people pour onto the streets of France to pay tribute to the 17 people killed.

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells French Jews that Israel is their home.


- A German tabloid in the northern port city of Hamburg that reprinted Mohammed cartoons from Charlie Hebdo is the target of a firebombing in which no one is hurt.

- EU and US security ministers meet at France's interior ministry to work out a joint response to the threat of jihadist attacks.

- A man resembling Coulibaly claims to be a member of the Islamic State group in a posthumous video released online.

- Prosecutors say they have linked Coulibaly to the shooting of a jogger in southern Paris just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

- Hundreds of thousands of people, along with world leaders, flood Paris to protest against terrorism.

© 2015 AFP

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