A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows a general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015.-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-SHOOTING
A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows a general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015. Gabrielle Chatelain—AFP/Getty Images

Kosher Grocery Assault Confirms Worst Fears of French Jews

Jan 09, 2015

The worst fears of France’s already tense Jewish community came to be on Friday when an assailant believed to have killed a policewoman the day before took hostages at a Kosher supermarket in eastern Paris.

The suspect was killed when police stormed the market and several hostages were reportedly freed, but the fate of others remains unclear. Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters earlier that the suspect, believed to be Amedy Coulibaly, 32, had ties to the gunmen in the terror strike on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, who were killed in a separate police operation on Thursday.

The assault on the Kosher supermarket shook the Jewish community in France and abroad. As dual hostage situations unfolded, police ordered the closure of all shops in the tourist-filled Jewish neighborhood in central Paris, far from the supermarket under siege in the city’s east, according to the Associated Press. And ahead of the Sabbath Friday evening, the iconic Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed, USA Today reported.

Witness Scenes From the Paris Hostage Standoff

Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
French police special forces evacuate local residents on Jan. 9, 2015 in Saint-Mande, near Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris.
People are led away from the scene as Police mobilize with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Police are mobilized with reports of a hostage situation at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows a general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015.-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-SHOOTING
The moment when members of the French anti-terror forces RAID storm the kosher store where Amedy Coulibaly, an islamist gunman holds hostages, on Cours de Vincennes in Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015.
Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
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The Jewish community in France, numbering more than 400,000, had already been on guard after an uptick in anti-Semitic violence in recent years, including the shooting of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014, allegedly by a French Muslim man. After the attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jewish institutions were on maximum alert, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Volunteers joined police deployed by the French authorities to secure schools and religious sites.

“We are past red alert at this stage, it’s all hands on deck because, sadly, the question is not whether the French Jewish community will be targeted, but when,” Chlomik Zenouda, vice-president of the National Bureau for Vigilance against anti-Semitism, told JTA before the assault on the supermarket.

When an attack materialized, on the Kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes, condemnation of the assault and expressions of support flowed in from the Jewish community around the world. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted in solidarity:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered assistance to French authorities and convened a teleconference with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his security staff, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“The terror attack that has gone on for three days now is not just against the French nation, or against the Jews of France, but is aimed at the entire free world,” Lieberman said, the Jerusalem Post reported. “This is another attempt by the forces of darkness emanating from extreme Islam to sow fear and terror against the West, and the entire international community must stand like a wall and with determination against this terrorism.”

In a statement, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League "expressed deep concern" over the attack. "Islamic extremism is a common enemy of Jews and democratic states. That message needs to be heard and internalized by governments and mainstream society," the ADL said.

French Police Respond to Hostage Situation in Industrial Estate

Armed security forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Jan. 9, 2015.
Armed security forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Jan. 9, 2015.Thibault Camus—AP
Armed security forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Jan. 9, 2015.
Police and army forces take positions in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects, Jan. 9, 2015
Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Jan. 9, 2015.
Children wait inside the Henri Dunand school before being moved to a safe location to be picked up by their parents in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, France, Jan. 9, 2015.
Police forces evacuate the children of the Henry-Dunant primary school located next to printing company Creation Tendance Decouverte CTD, where the two Charlie Hebdo gunmen are detaining a hostage, in Dammartin-en-Goele, north of Paris, France on Jan. 9, 2015.
French police officers patrol in Dammartin-en-Goele where two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen, on Jan. 9, 2015.
Smoke rises from a building in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where the two brothers suspected in a deadly terror attack were cornered, Jan. 9, 2015.
Armed security forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Jan. 9, 2015.
Thibault Camus—AP
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Read next: Watch Parisians Vow To Stand Strong Against Terror Threat

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