Paris Hostage Dramas End With Police Shoot-Outs

Jan 09, 2015 at 8:42 AM ET

Update: As of 11:40 a.m. Eastern time, it was reported that police had killed both hostage takers in Dammartin, Cherif and Said Kouachi, as well as the gunman holding hostages in Porte-Vincenne. The hostage who had been held by the brothers was freed unharmed, but four hostages in the kosher supermarket in Porte-Vincenne were killed.

Paris was plunged into turmoil as two separate events unfolded on the outskirts of the city on Friday. In Porte-Vincenne to the east, a gunman, thought to be the same person who killed a female police officer after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, took several hostages in a kosher supermarket. Meanwhile, in Dammartin to the northwest of Paris, two attackers  fired shots and took people hostage in a small printing company in an industrial estate.

The two attackers in the Dammartin event were the Kouachi brothers, the two gunmen who were on the run after carrying out the Charlie Hebdo massacre. They were recognized in the town of Montagny-Sainte-Felicité as they stole a car early on Friday and made their way toward Paris, ending up hiding in the printing company. Children from nearby schools have been evacuated, and police sharpshooters and helicopter patrols have been deployed in the area.

Because the Porte-Vincenne hostages were taken in a kosher delicatessen, the Mairie (town hall) of Paris’ 4iéme district took the precaution of closing shops in the Rue des Rosiers, a predominantly Jewish market district in the heart of the city.

French police released the following statement, identifying two suspects in the shooting of a policewoman on Thursday, Jan. 8, and asking that anyone with information get in touch. Within minutes of their names being released to the public, pages appeared on Facebook in the names of Hayat Boumeddienne and Amedy Coulibaly, largely for people to express their disgust at what they were allegedly involved in.

Coulibaly was a known associate of French-Algerian terrorist Djamel Chebal—arrested in 2001 for for conspiring to blow up the U.S. embassy in Paris. Djamel Chebal was also well-known to the Kouachi brothers, who met and befriended Chebal during a stint in prison, according to a Le Monde report.