Friday's dramatic events in France

10th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Developments on Friday in two hostage-takings by the suspected killers of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine and by a third Islamist gunman and hostage-taker suspected of also killing a policewoman.


- Police comb the countryside north of Paris in the hunt for two brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, accused of the attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, as the pair spend a second night on the run.

- At 08:00 am police exchange fire during a car chase on the N2 highway northeast of Paris with two suspects believed to be the brothers. The suspects earlier had hijacked a Peugeot 206 in Montagny-Sainte-Felicite from a woman who said she recognised them as the wanted men.

- Minutes later the two brothers take one person hostage at a small printing business named CTD in Dammartin-en-Goele, a small town of some 8,000 people, 42 kilometres (26 miles) northeast of Paris and only 12 kilometres from Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport. The town is sealed off by police, with helicopters flying overhead.

- Some flights are unable to land at the airport, because army and police helicopters are flying at low altitudes.

- Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says a police operation is underway to "neutralise" the two suspects and attempts have been made to make contact with them.

- Schools near the building are evacuated, businesses shut down and local inhabitants barricaded in their homes.

- At 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) a gunman opens fire at a Jewish supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris and takes at least five people hostage. The attack is suspected of being carried out by the same gunman who shot dead a policewoman in Montrouge in southern Paris on Thursday. The suspect is thought by police to have links to the Kouachi brothers.

- In the early afternoon French police release mugshots of a man and a woman, Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, wanted over the killing of the policewoman.

- Around 5:00 pm (1600 GMT) French police launch an assault and explosions are heard at a building where the Charlie Hebdo suspects are holed up. The two suspects come out firing on security forces and are killed. The hostage -- who prosecutors said survived by hiding under a sink on the second floor, and who texted tactical information to police forces outside -- is released unhurt.

- Around 5:15 pm (1615 GMT) police launch an assault on the Jewish supermarket. Five are found dead, including the gunman, and four critically wounded according to a security source. Prosecutors reveal later that up to five hostages -- including a father and his three-year-old son -- survived by hiding inside a refrigerator, with security forces using mobile phone numbers to track their location.

- In telephone calls earlier in the day and reported after the hostage crises ended, Coulibaly tells BFMTV station he had "coordinated" with the Charlie Hebdo killers and was a member of the Islamic State group.

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.

- President Barack Obama tells France "the United States stands with you", while several European leaders say they will travel to Paris to join a mass rally in Paris this weekend.

© 2015 AFP

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