The names of the four victims of Friday’s standoff at Paris’s Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket have been released by the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF), a national organization that represents French Jewry.
According to witnesses, Yohan Cohen (22), Philippe Braham (40), François-Michel Saada (believed to be in his 60s) and Yoav Hattab (21) were shot in the early stages of the seven-hour standoff, which ended when police stormed the shop and killed the hostage taker – a 32-yearold man identified as Amedy Coulibaly.
Some media reports have identified Hattab as the son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis Benjamin Hattab.
According to one of Hattab’s friends on Facebook, he lived in Tunis and came to France to study at a yeshiva in Marseilles and decided to stay.
He read the Torah every week during services in his synagogue in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, the friend told The Jerusalem Post.
Cohen was a resident of Sarcelles, widely known as “Little Jerusalem” for its large Jewish population, and studied at the Lycée ORT high school in the Paris suburb of Villiersle- Bel.
Friends on Facebook described Cohen, who worked in the store, as strong and smart with a “heart of gold,” as well as a calm person who rarely got angry and “always had a smile on his face.”
A witness, who did not identify Cohen by name, told France’s BFM-TV how one of the victims was shot in the head after struggling to wrest away one of the attacker’s guns.
Other reports named Cohen as the one who attempted to confront the attacker.
Jeremie Agou, a regular shopper at Hyper Cacher, told the Post he saw Cohen every week when buying his groceries and that he felt “a little traumatized” after the shooting.
“It could have been me,” he said, adding that his office was located adjacent to the site of the shooting of policewoman Clarissa Jean-Philippe on Thursday and had been placed under lockdown by security forces.
Both attacks made a “big impression” on him and, like many French Jews, he was reevaluating his future there.
“If it happened there it can happen anywhere,” Agou told the Post, adding that while he “always saw my future in Israel, now [the attack] makes it even more pressing and I’m pushing my parents to sell their house and buy in Israel.”
He refuses to hide, however, saying that even if he is more circumspect when he walks the streets, hiding would be a victory for terror.
“We are not going to hide at home,” he said.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky recently told the Post 50,000 French Jews had inquired about aliya in 2014. Almost 7,000 out of a total population of 600,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel last year, double the number that arrived the previous year.
Following Friday’s attack – the worst against a Jewish target in France since the 2012 shooting at Toulouse’s Otzar HaTorah school, which also killed four – some Twitter users began posting the hashtag #JeSuisJuif, French for “I am a Jew.”Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.