Charlie Hebdo Suspects Dead After Dual Standoffs

The men responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre are dead, but the problems for France, and the rest of Europe, may just be at the beginning.

charlie-hebdo-montage

The men believed to be responsible for the massacre of twelve people at the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo are dead after a standoff in a town outside Paris, and an apparent confederate has also died in a separate incident at a Kosher supermarket in Paris itself:

PARIS — A tense, dramatic day of spiraling crises that had paralyzed parts of Paris and its suburbs, drawn an army of law enforcement officers and shaken the French government ended in bloodshed on Friday, as the police conducted simultaneous raids in response to two hostage situations that had extended a wave of terror.

The operations against two suspected militants in a printing factory north of Paris, and against a third man who had seized hostages at a kosher market in the eastern part of the city, began with explosions, the sound of gunfire, and then quiet.

The militants in the factory, two brothers, had set off the terror on Wednesday by spraying the offices of a satirical newspaper with gunfire, massacring 12 people. An associate was suspected of assassinating a police officer on Thursday before taking hostages at the kosher market on Friday. All three were killed in the police operations.

A hostage who had been held by the two brothers was freed unharmed, the authorities said.

But four hostages were killed and five injured at the supermarket, although it was not immediately clear how many of those might have been shot in the final assault. Five hostages were reported to have been freed unharmed, a senior French police official said.

Addressing the nation Friday night, President François Hollande saluted the special police forces that had conducted the operations. He called for vigilance and unity against “fanatics.”

“It is our best weapon,” he said. “We can fight against anything that could divide us.”

Mr. Hollande also labeled the attack at the kosher supermarket a horrific “anti-Semitic act.”

“Following this ordeal, I can assure you: We will emerge even stronger,” he said

Though the immediate crises had ended, France remained deeply traumatized, and a period of mourning began for the 17 victims who had been swept up in the violence. The attack on the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, has already been called “France’s September 11” by Le Monde.

(…)

The Kouachi brothers had been on the run since the attack on Charlie Hebdo but were tracked to the printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goële, 25 miles north of Paris, early Friday. They were armed and holding a single hostage.

After hours of unsuccessful negotiations, during which the brothers told the authorities that they were ready to die as martyrs, the police began the simultaneous raids at about 5 p.m.

Rocco Contento, a spokesman for the Unité S.G.P. police union in Paris, who confirmed that the brothers were dead, said the raids had unfolded rapidly.

“The operation in Dammartin is finished,” Mr. Contento said. “The two suspects have been killed, and the hostage has been freed. The special counterterrorism forces located where the terrorists are and broke down the door. They took them by surprise. It lasted a matter of minutes.”\

While the brothers were holding the printing plant, a man said to be an associate, Amedy Coulibaly, seized hostages at Hyper Cacher, a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes.\

Mr. Coulibaly, who the police said had gunned down a female police officer in Montrouge, a suburb south of Paris, on Thursday, threatened to kill his hostages if the police attacked the Kouachi brothers.

In a measure of the jitters pervading the city during the daylong siege, the police ordered shopkeepers on Rue des Rosiers, a street with many Jewish-owned businesses, to close as a precaution.

Earlier in the day, the police said that Mr. Coulibaly was believed to be part of the same jihadist network as the Kouachi brothers, and that a terrorism investigation had been opened. While Mr. Coulibaly held the hostages, they issued a photograph of him and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

French authorities are apparently now looking for a 26 year old woman named Hayat Boumeddiene who was connected to Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers and may indeed have been part of the network that the three men were apparently involved in. It was believed that she may have been part of the standoff at the supermarket but was able to slip away in the confusion after the siege ended. In any case, the big question going forward is just how big this network may actually have been. The connections between the Kouchi’s and al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen appear to be largely confirmed at this point, especially with reports this afternoon that the group has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, and  they raise several questions that the French and many other nations are going to have to deal with in coming weeks an months. For example, were these four people part of a formal al Qaeda cell in France and, if so, are they the only people involved in that cell? Were they being formally directed from Yemen or was this more of a free lance effort, a question that is all the more important given the fact that it appears that it has been at least three years since any of the parties involved have actually been in Yemen? If this was some kind of directed attack, then how were they communicating with their contact(s) in Yemen? Where did they get their weapons, and how did they get the seemingly inside information that would have been needed to know that nearly the entire staff of Charlie Hebdo would be in the office on Wednesday? Are there other attacks in the works, and are their other cells in other parts of Europe, or even the United States? Given the brazen and seemingly professional nature of the initial attack in this case, it would seem that these are questions that need to be answered as soon as possible.

In addition to those questions, though, the incident has also raised issued about France itself and its immigrant culture:

The attack on Wednesday set off soul-searching about the integration of Muslims in France’s impoverished immigrant suburbs, the radicalization of disenfranchised young people on society’s margins, and the failure of the French security apparatus to fend off the assault by the suspects, who had been known to the police for years and had been closely monitored by the intelligence services.

One of the two brothers, Saïd Kouachi, 34, had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and received terrorist training from Al Qaeda’s affiliate there before returning to France, according to American officials. His younger brother Chérif Kouachi, a sometime pizza delivery man and fishmonger, had been arrested in France in 2005 as he prepared to leave for Syria, the first leg of a trip he had hoped would take him to Iraq, and convicted three years later.

During the attack on the newspaper, the assailants identified themselves as being part of Al Qaeda and shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great.” Their blatant embrace of Islam during an act of violence has been seized on by those who have been warning about a gulf between Islam and the values of the West.

The events are already resonating in French politics and could embolden the ascendant far-right National Front, which has railed against the failure of immigrants, and Muslims in particular, to integrate into French society.

They could further damage the standing of Mr. Hollande, one of the most unpopular presidents in recent French history, who was already confronting a struggling economy and questions about his leadership.

The attacks have also spawned fears among Muslims. In the hours after the newspaper was targeted, two Muslim places of worship were shot at, and there was an explosion at a kebab shop in eastern France. No one was hurt in those assaults.

France has long had conflict regarding its Muslim immigrant population and the nation’s long tradition of secularism, ranging from efforts to ban even traditional headscarves to what some suggest has been the general inability of French culture to fully assimilate immigrants to the extent that it makes younger members of these communities more susceptible to radicalization. That’s not to justify what happened this week, of course, but it seems undeniable that if people are meant to feel like outcasts even after living in a place for a generation or more, then it’s perhaps not surprising that they would end up being seduced by a jihadist ideology. In any case, it seems clear that this is going to be an issue that France, and other nations in Europe are going to have to deal with on their home fronts going forward. I don’t know what the solution is, but it seems imperative that some solution be found.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Islam, National Security, Religion, Terrorism, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    Which leads us to the question of why, in light of this tragedy and with Republicans now telling us we are at grave risk of similar attacks, is the GOP playing politics with the Homeland Security budget?

  2. BK says:

    When I got my first US visa I didn’t receive any help from the US government. It was just “Welcome and good luck” which is fine. So the only way to make a living was to adapt. And that’s why immigration works here. In Europe –where I lived for 35 years– the government is there to help you. You can survive pretty much everywhere without ever working. So, no need to adapt.

  3. munchbox says:

    but the problems for France, and the rest of Europe, may just be at the beginning.

    thats for damn sure with so many muslims taking over swaths of land. http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/2367/european-muslim-no-go-zones

  4. motopilot says:

    Right now the Republicans are going to play politics with anything and everything. And their media outlets are nothing but 24/7 trash talk. With a shrinking demographic, they are going hell bent for leather.

  5. lounsbury says:

    Glad the bastards are dead, but a point of order: How many generations does one need to be born in a country to no longer be an Immigrant?

    @munchbox: Complete and utter bigotted tripe with absolutely no basis in reality.

    As to the note proper:

    That’s not to justify what happened this week, of course, but it seems undeniable that if people are meant to feel like outcasts even after living in a place for a generation or more, then it’s perhaps not surprising that they would end up being seduced by a jihadist ideology. In any case, it seems clear that this is going to be an issue that France, and other nations in Europe are going to have to deal with on their home fronts going forward.

    The French problem is tied very much to an inability to admit and deal directly with the quite blatant discrimination against Maghrebine and to a lesser extent Sub Saharan African population. Again and again blind tests have shown that if one has the ‘misfortune’ of having a non Roman Catholic French type name, your chances of having a CV approved for hiring, etc. are massively, massively lower than if one has a ” traditional” French name. Maghrebi Muslims being the largest non RC pop bear the brunt of that. However French law bans collecting official statistics or other ‘communitarian’ actions. Rather perverse effect of a law arising out of the Vichy collaboration with the Nazis in rounding up the Jews in France and French territories (ironically ex Morocco…).

    I shan’t forget my Armenian girl friend of years ago being treated as a sale arabe for her looks and a name mistaken for Muslim by a cashier in Paris.

    Quite a lot of undigested issues, many stemming from the Algerian war.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @lounsbury:

    Munchbox is a troll. Treat it as one – by not dignifying it with a response.

  7. munchbox says:

    thats Complete and utter bigotted tripe with absolutely no basis in reality.

    In France, large swaths of Muslim neighborhoods are now considered “no-go” zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. A complete list of the ZUS can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.

    ….i didn’t say that the French government did….

    thats some freeper crap there DERP!

  8. lounsbusry says:

    @munchbox:
    I live part time in Paris, that is utter 100% imagination.

    There are tough neighbourhoods, but it is sheer American fantasy that there are “Muslim” areas no go to police.

    The French state has only lost control in the overheated imagination of provincial ignoramuses who wish to pimp bigotry.

  9. Tyrell says:

    @munchbox: What has taken place will be hard to reverse. Who ever heard of a country just willingly giving up its sovereignty over its own land like is occurring in England. You can bet that the English people are going to want some changes, to take back their country. This is the the result of leaders who fear offending someone, leaders who are short on courage and want to please everyone. This article is scary and a portent for other countries. Leaders of this country had better take heed. The citizens here need to be ready not to let these people try the same thing and start taking things over here.
    You can also bet that there are people in this country set and ready to commit the same kind of carnage that we have seen in France.

  10. Tyrell says:

    Look at: “Dearborn, MI an emerging no go zone of hate and intolerance” video.

  11. munchbox says:

    I live part time in Paris, that is utter 100% imagination.

    Really? I guess it wasn’t really muslimes that carried out this latest attack? its Just like howard dean says?…thanks for the clarification.

  12. Stan says:

    @Tyrell: This is total BS. My wife and I live about 30 miles west of Dearborn, and we’ve gone there several times since the 9/11 attacks to eat at Arab restaurants. We haven’t seen anything like the stuff you’re talking about. You’re the victim of a hoax, and I’m being charitable when I say this.

  13. lounsbury says:

    @Tyrell:
    This is equally sheer nonsense informed but by empty headed bigotry of the lowest and most infantile sort, pure BNP fantasy.

    @munchbox:

    What a weak, mendancious attempt at pitiful rejoinder. For persons not actually functionally retarded and sub-literate, the fact three cretins who are Muslim committed these acts really says absolutely nothing about the entirely imaginary and fictional “Muslim” controlled areas agitprop you regurgitate.

    The Zones Sensibles are nothing more than high crime areas and trying to spin them into mini Caliphates or loss of control of the secular French government is at best illiterate nonsense if not actual active lying.

  14. Stan says:

    Back when Edward Snowden was being canonized, I wondered if anybody understood that preventing terrorist acts requires every available tool, including electronic surveillance. The Islamic militants who killed all those people in Paris were known to the American and French intelligence agencies, and if their intentions had been better understood the victims at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Casher might still be alive. I understand and to some extent share the concerns of Doug and the other civil libertarians who post on this site about government snooping. Do they understand my concern about being killed by some deranged defender of the faith the next time I visit New York or Paris?

  15. bill says:

    @lounsbury: ask chris coumo at cnn, he thinks blacks are African Americans worldwide apparently. i wonder if that’s “pc” or “low t” he suffers from?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJm_JwcXZw0

  16. anjin-san says:

    @Stan:

    Do they understand my concern about being killed by some deranged defender of the faith the next time I visit New York or Paris?

    Well, you chances of tripping over your own two feet and dying when you skull hits the pavement are probably greater than your dying in a terrorist attack. And your chances of being killed by a garden variety American lunatic with easy access to guns is certainly greater than your chances of dying in a terrorist attack.

    But if you are that worried, you could simply hide under your bed for the rest of your life.

  17. anjin-san says:

    @lounsbusry:

    There are tough neighbourhoods

    As there are everywhere. I live in a nice neighborhood near San Francisco, it’s bordered by a country club on one side and a large park on the other. During the day I mostly hear the birds singing, and at night we hear the train whistles and not much else. And there are neighborhoods that are a 15-20 minute drive from my place that I would never willingly set foot in.

  18. Franklin says:

    @Tyrell: Uh, I’ve been to Dearborn fairly recently, and I assure you it’s fine.

  19. munchbox says:

    the entirely imaginary and fictional “Muslim” controlled areas agitprop you regurgitate.

    the imaginary list just keeps growing….the amalgamated union of lone wolves seem to pop up out of thin air…

    What are they? Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, Those places in France that the French state does not control.


    “those are just tough neighourhoods”

    Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019547/Anjem-Choudary-Islamic-extremists-set-Sharia-law-zones-UK-cities.html#ixzz3OTsYRJrx

    In the videos, the ‘Muslim Patrol’ is heard to say, “Alcohol banned. This is a Muslim area. Muslims patrol the area.”

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2458/_muslim_patrol_vigilantes_attempt_to_control_london_streets

    A backdrop to the massacre in Paris on Wednesday by self-professed al Qaeda terrorists is that city officials have increasingly ceded control of heavily Muslim neighborhoods to Islamists, block by block.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/7/french-islamist-mini-states-grow-into-problem-out-/#ixzz3OTsDRklr

    Swedish police have ceded control over 55 “no-go zones” to predominately Muslim criminal gangs. An extensive report mapping out 55 no-go zones was released Oct. 24

    Dearborn…?

    In a surprise weekend vote, the city council of Dearborn, Michigan voted 4-3 to become the first US city to officially implement all aspects of Sharia Law. – See more at: http://nationalreport.net/city-michigan-first-fully-implement-sharia-law/#sthash.CPQw93vq.dpuf

  20. lounsbury says:

    @Stan:

    Do they understand my concern about being killed by some deranged defender of the faith the next time I visit New York or Paris?

    Or being hit by a meteor, by God! Why isn’t Doug et al coming out for Meteor Surviellanc!!!!!11!11

    Bloody pants witting gits.

    @bill:
    What does Chris Coumo have to do with anything at all my dear dim sub-literate provincial? Or is this a bit of a pitiful red herring? I really could care less if some CNN commentator used ‘African American for non American Africans or non American blacks, as this has nothing at all to do with this subject, as anyone capable of adult reasoning could figure out.

  21. loonsbury says:

    the entirely imaginary and fictional “Muslim” controlled areas agitprop you regurgitate.

    the imaginary list just keeps growing….the amalgamated union of lone wolves seem to pop up out of thin air…

    What are they? Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, Those places in France that the French state does not control.


    “those are just tough neighourhoods”

    Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019547/Anjem-Choudary-Islamic-extremists-set-Sharia-law-zones-UK-cities.html#ixzz3OTsYRJrx

    In the videos, the ‘Muslim Patrol’ is heard to say, “Alcohol banned. This is a Muslim area. Muslims patrol the area.”

    http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2458/_muslim_patrol_vigilantes_attempt_to_control_london_streets

    A backdrop to the massacre in Paris on Wednesday by self-professed al Qaeda terrorists is that city officials have increasingly ceded control of heavily Muslim neighborhoods to Islamists, block by block.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/7/french-islamist-mini-states-grow-into-problem-out-/#ixzz3OTsDRklr

    Swedish police have ceded control over 55 “no-go zones” to predominately Muslim criminal gangs. An extensive report mapping out 55 no-go zones was released Oct. 24

    Dearborn…?

    In a surprise weekend vote, the city council of Dearborn, Michigan voted 4-3 to become the first US city to officially implement all aspects of Sharia Law. – See more at: http://nationalreport.net/city-michigan-first-fully-implement-sharia-law/#sthash.CPQw93vq.dpuf

    its sooooo PROVINICAL

  22. PJ says:

    @BK:

    When I got my first US visa I didn’t receive any help from the US government. It was just “Welcome and good luck” which is fine. So the only way to make a living was to adapt. And that’s why immigration works here. In Europe –where I lived for 35 years– the government is there to help you. You can survive pretty much everywhere without ever working. So, no need to adapt.

    While Europe has had and have immigration from South and Central America it doesn’t have the problems with Hispanic gangs that the US does.
    Does that mean that Europe is better at immigration?

    It’s a lot easier for people in South and Central America to get to the US than to get to Europe, and likewise, it’s a lot easier for people in the Middle East to get to Europe than the US.

    Think about that.

  23. Grewgills says:

    For all of those hyperventilating about dangerous muslims, are you equally worried about the right wing christian reactionaries in France and now the Netherlands that are now targeting mosques and innocent muslims? There has been quite a bit of that going on in the past week and it is getting very little news coverage.

  24. Stan says:

    @anjin-san: One of my daughters was scheduled to fly to New York on the morning of 9/11 to visit a friend living near the World Trade Center and do some sight seeing in the area. Luckily, her flight was cancelled just as it was about to take off. I didn’t know this at the time. When I heard about the first attack, all I could think about was whether she was safe. So I’m not as brave about these things as you are. I’m also not dumb enough to think that any government in the world, no matter how devoted to civil liberties, would overlook any possibility of preventing a terrorist attack. So Edward Snowden, now enjoying the pleasures of Russian life, is not one of my heroes.

  25. anjin-san says:

    @Stan:

    Stan — That’s a compelling story. It does not change the fact that the average American has a greater chance of dying in a car wreck on the way to the store to get a gallon of milk than they do of dying in a terrorist attack.

  26. bill says:

    @lounsbury: true, dead sheetheads are dead sheetheads, i don’t care for their race so much as your liberoid ilk seem to feign while trying to divert reality from the dumb masses.