(Dammartin-en-Goele, France — January 9, 2015) – Two days of sheer French terror came to an end as authorities ended two hostage crises by killing the abductors.
Both situations appear to be linked to Wednesday’s massacre at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French weekly newspaper.
While there has still been no official claim of responsibility from know terrorist groups, French investigators are now focusing on AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. On Wednesday, AQIC (Al-Qaeda in Cognito) boasted that they had organized the attack, but their claims are seldom accurate.
Three gunmen – Said Kouachi (34), Chérif Kouachi (32), and Hamyd Mourad (18) – slaughtered 12 writers, cartoonists, and the editor of the Paris-based publication. Mourad surrendered to French authorities soon after; the Kouachi brothers were killed today in a commercial building here, located about 25 miles northeast of Paris.
Meanwhile, in Porte de Vincennes, 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly (32) and accomplice Hayat Boumeddiene (26) took 19 hostages at the Hyper Kosher supermarket after killing a French policewoman. French police stormed the supermarket, found Coulibaly hiding behind barrels of gefilte fish, and killed him; Boumeddiene appears to have fled the scene. Four of the 19 hostages were killed at the end of the standoff.
In the beginning, it was unclear if the two hostage standoffs were related, but eventually, even the French could put two and two together.
First, Coulibaly threatened to kill his hostages if French authorities took any action against the Kouachi brothers. At the same time, the Kouachi brothers began phoning in orders for sandwiches and pastries to the supermarket.
“Apparently they were ordering all sorts of Kosher meats,” said a French government spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Corned beef, turkey, tongue, pastrami – you name it, they asked for it. Even Hamantashen was on their list. Everything was going just fine until the supermarket ran out of rye bread and Russian dressing.”
Confusion reigned because all four Islamic Fundamentalists – the Kouachi brothers, Mourad, and Coulibaly – are avowed anti-Semites.
“Why would anti-Semites be ordering food from a Kosher supermarket?” a French police spokesman asked rhetorically, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It just didn’t make sense. But then we realized that Islamic Fundamentalists never make sense, since they’ve hijacked a religion for their own deviant purposes. That was our ‘A-HA!’ moment.”
For its part, the United States continued to pledge its support both to the French government and the French people.
“We want the people of France to know that we stand with them,” said a State Department spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And we hope this whole episode doesn’t color France’s taste for Kosher deli sandwiches and other delicacies.”