Members of the French police special forces take position near the scene of a hostage taking at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
PARIS - Four hostages were killed and four others were critically wounded as a result of a hostage standoff in a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday.
One hostage taker, Amedy Coulibaly, was killed during the police raid, but it is believed he had a female accomplice, 27-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene -- who remains at large, according to a CNN report. The report says that Coulibaly and Boumeddiene have been in a relationship since 2010.
During a conversation with local French media during the hostage crisis, Coulibaly claimed to choose the supermarket because it was Jewish and said he was part of ISIS, according to CNN .
French media reported on Friday that the police raided the kosher supermarket where a gunman took at least five people hostage. At least 14 hostages were freed in the raid, press has reported.
In an address to the nation just a few hours after the standoff ended, French President Francois Hollande denounced the hostage takeover of the kosher shop as "an anti-Semitic act."
News footage of the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in the Vincennes district showed dozens of heavily armed police officers massed outside of two entrances. The assault began with gunfire and a loud explosion at the door, after which hostages were rushed out.
Reuters photographs taken from long distance showed a man holding an infant and looking distressed being herded into an ambulance by police. Others were carried in on stretchers.
Almost simultaneously in another part of Paris, the two brothers wanted for the shooting of 12 people at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo
were killed in a raid on Friday by security forces on the print works where they were holed up with a hostage, a government source said.Le Monde
newspaper quoted a police official as saying that the hostage-taker at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris had also been killed. That hostage-taker is believed to have links to the same Islamist group as the two brothers.
French television images showed some people running out of the supermarket in eastern Paris. The exact fate of all the hostages there and at the one at the print works was not immediately clear.
Minutes earlier, loud explosions were heard near the supermarket and television images showed a large contingent of police storming the building.
The images showed a number of people believed to be the hostages running away from the building as police raided the area, firing their guns.
The crisis began about three hours earlier when an armed man took several hostages and one person was wounded in a shootout at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday, police sources confirmed on Friday. There are conflicting reports as to whether there anyone was killed in the incident.
A woman in tears approached French police outside the kosher supermarket where hostages were held captive by a gunman in northeast Paris, saying her 37-year-old daughter just managed to call from the supermarket and told her five people have already been killed, the BBC reported.
The daughter said many hostages were in the basement of the supermarket. The conversation was interrupted by other hostages making the woman stop talking for her own safety.
There is no official confirmation of these claims.
It was not immediately clear whether there was a link between that gunman and the two suspects wanted for 12 killings
at the Charlie Hebdo
satirical weekly on Wednesday.
However a police source said the hostage-taker resembled the man suspected of killing a policewoman
in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday. That man in turn is believed to be a member of the same jihadist group as the two Charlie Hebdo suspects.
The exact number of hostages taken was unclear. Local media spoke of at least five. The police source said the man was equipped with automatic weapons.
Police immediately cordoned off the area and a helicopter was flying overhead.
French anti-terrorist police stormed a small printing works in northern France where the two chief suspects in Wednesday's attack on a Paris newspaper had taken a hostage, explosions and gunfire ringing out around the building.
Reuters quoted a police officer at the scene as saying that the two suspects were killed in the standoff.
The building in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, set in marsh and woodland, had been under siege since the gunmen abandoned a high-speed car chase and took refuge there early on Friday. A helicopter hovered overhead.
"At the time of speaking, police forces are in the process, I hope, of apprehending the perpetrators of this act of savagery and making sure they can do no more harm," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.
No further details of the security forces' late afternoon operation were immediately available.
Separately, Paris police named a man they were looking for in connection with Thursday's killing of a policewoman as 32 year-old Amedy Coulibaly. They said were also looking for a 26 year-old woman called Hayat Boumeddiene. They described both as armed and dangerous.