At least 5 hostages, including women and children, held at grocery store; police confirm same gunman killed policewoman Thursday, is linked to Charlie Hebdo killers.
Fresh shooting broke out in eastern Paris on Friday, as an armed man took hostages at a kosher grocery store, among them women and children. Police sources said at least two were killed at the scene.
Police confirmed Friday afternoon that the gunman was the same man who killed a policewoman south of Paris on Thursday, and is linked to the assailants who stormed satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, killing 12 people. He was named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Authorities were looking into suspicions that he took part in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Coulibaly is believed to have had a female accomplice in the shooting of the policewoman, according to the authorities, who identified her as Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. They were both described as “armed and dangerous.”
France Info radio reported that the shooter at the kosher market had two AK-47 rifles, and fired for around 20 seconds before taking five hostages. He then phoned police to make contact.
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Police, firefighters, and emergency personnel were at the scene.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Jerusalem was following the developments in Paris with great concern.
“This is another attempt by the dark forces of radical Islam to unleash horror and terror on the West. The entire international community must stand strong and determined in the face of this terror,” Liberman said in a statement.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said earlier that he was not aware of any Israeli citizens among the hostages.
According to the address given by French radio, the store is called Hypercacher Alimentation Générale.
Ruben K., a Parisian Jew who knows the store well, told the Times of Israel that the market is most crowded on Friday, and is frequented by residents of Vincennes and St. Mande.
Four nearby schools were on lockdown.
Earlier Friday, French police took two people in Coulibaly’s immediate circle into custody, a source close to the investigation said.
“The suspect has been identified. Two people very close to him have been taken into custody,” the source said. The shooting was being handled by anti-terrorist judges, the prosecutor’s office announced Thursday.