Near-simultaneous raids by French police Friday evening at locations 25 miles apart took out the Islamist brothers behind Wednesday's massacre at a Paris satirical magazine and a cop-killing crony who had seized hostages at a Paris grocery on their behalf, but also left at least four hostages dead, according to authorities and reports from the scene.
The lightning-quick strikes ended two tense, hours-long standoffs, one at a printing plant north of the city and the other at a kosher supermarket on Paris' east side, where four hostages were killed, as many as 15 were freed. A hostage held north of the city by the brothers, who killed 12 in a commando-style attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, was reportedly freed. The fast-moving developments, signaled by explosions and gunfire at a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, followed by similar sounds at Hypercacher (Hyper Kosher), a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, brought to a climax a three-day terror ordeal and manhunt involving nearly 90,000 police and military personnel.
"France has been struck directly in the heart of its capital, in a place where the spirit of liberty -- and thus of resistance -- breathed freely." - French President Francois Hollande
Cherif and Said Kouachi, the radicalized French-born slackers whose attack on Charlie Hebdo left two police officers among the dozen dead, were both killed in the first raid. The brothers, 32 and 34, respectively, are believed to have ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen, and military experts who viewed footage of their bloody, late-morning raid on Wednesday said they appeared to be well-trained terrorists. Charlie Hebdo had long angered Muslim radicals with its penchant for publishing cartoon images of Prophet Muhammed.
In Paris, police said Amedy Coulibaly, who is believed to have know the brothers and was suspected of killing Paris Police Officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe Thursday, as she attended to a routine traffic accident in the city, was killed in a raid moments later, ending his supermarket siege. Police had identified him and his longtime girlfriend, Hayat Boumeddiene, as suspects in the police killing, but her whereabouts were not immediately known. Police were searching for another possible suspect who may have escaped the grocery store siege, but it was not clear if that person was Boumeddiene.
Coulibaly, 33, and Cherif Kouachi were committed followers of convicted terror kingpin Djamel Beghal, according to Le Monde.