Charlie Hebdo Attackers, Market Shooter Killed after Seige; EU Leaders to Convene Sunday for Unity Rally

( [email protected] ) Jan 09, 2015 01:23 PM EST
Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attack
Police cornered brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi on Friday inside a printing house in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele near Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The brothers are believed to be behind Wednesday's attack on French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. Reuters

French police have killed the three Islamic extremists connected to the violent attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Agence France Presse reported.

On Friday, French police launched simultaneous assaults on the gunmen who held hostages at two locations just outside Paris.

Police killed brothers Said and Chérif Kouachi after cornering them inside a printing house in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele near Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Both men are suspected of Wednesday's terrorist attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Yves Albarello, who is in France's parliament, said on French channel iTele that the two suspects told police by phone that they wanted to die as martyrs.

The AP reports that a hostage, seized from location around French capital and held by the brothers in a building north of Paris, was rescued alive by police

Meanwhile, on the eastern edge of Paris, police also raided a kosher grocery store where another man, Amedy Coulibaly, had killed at least three of the people he had taken hostage. Coulibaly, who experts believe was connected to the Kouachi brothers, was killed in the assault. According to police, Coulibaly had threatened to hurt the hostages if police raided the building where the Kouachi brothers were hiding.

On Wednesday, three masked gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices in central Paris, killing twelve people. Four of those murdered were the editor and cartoonists for the satirical publication, known for its controversial depictions of religious figures, including Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The attackers reportedly yelled "We have avenged the prophet Muhammad" and "Allah is Great" in Arabic, reports BBC.

Hours after the attack, French authorities were able to successfully identify three of the suspects as Hamyd Mourad, Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi.

On Wednesday night, Mourad, 18, turned himself in to authorities at a police station east of Paris, saying he had seen his own name circulating on social media. Friends of Mourad told French media that he was in school at the time of the attack.

Police were able to track Said Kouachi, the elder brother, after finding his national identity card in an abandoned getaway car. Later, authorities formally identified the elder Kouachi from footage captured by neighbors at the scene of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Experts believe the Kouachi brothers had received military training and weapons from an Islamic extremist group in Yemen in 2011. According to U.S. officials, both brothers and Coulibaly have been on watch lists of possible terrorists for years.

"France is living through a trial, when we see the worst massacre of this kind in the last 50 years," President Francois Hollande lamented on Friday. "It shows when a newspaper is attacked that it's because it's the expression of liberty itself."

On Sunday, European leaders will convene in Paris's Place de la Republique to attend a Unity Rally to "celebrate the values behind Charlie Hebdo," and engage in a international conference on terrorism. 

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, EU president Donald Tusk, German chancellor angela Merkel and Spanish president Mariano Rajoy Brey have accepted President Francois Hollande's invitation.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has just spoken in Paris. He said that France remains on high alert to ensure the citizen's safety despite the recent development, The Guardian reports.