TIME France

French Comedian Held on Suspicion of Sympathy for Gunman Who Killed 5

File photo of French comedian Dieudonne attends a news conference at the "Theatre de la Main d'or" in Paris
Gonzalo Fuentes—Reuters Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala during a press conference in Paris in 2014.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala was arrested for "defending terrorism"

French police on Wednesday arrested the country’s most incendiary comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, for having posted a message on Facebook last week which appeared to show sympathy for the man who killed four Jews in a kosher supermarket in Paris last week.

“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” wrote Dieudonné in a reference to the gunman Amedy Coulibaly who also fatally shot a policewoman last Thursday.

MORE Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has become a star by targeting France’s Jews

The arrest of the comedian was “totally exaggerated and disportionate” according to his lawyer Jacques Verdier. He told TIME on Wednesday that his client remained in custody nine hours after his arrest. Verdier said he thought the government had “lost its composure.”

The arrest is already being seen as a sign of double standards in France, coming three days after President François Hollande attended a march through the streets of Paris to proclaim freedom of speech. The paroxysm of violence in Paris began on January 7, when Said and Cherif Kouachi massacred eight journalists at the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo and four others. The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed on Wednesday it had planned and ordered the attack on the publication.

On Wednesday, Dieudonné was being investigated for “defending terrorism.” His arrest came a day after Prime Minister Manuel Valls — who last year ordered theaters to cancel Dieudonné’s show — made an impassioned speech to parliament about “these preachers of hatred,” without mentioning the comedian by name. The comedian’s in-your-face act, with its jokes about the Holocaust, has made Dieudonné a household name in France, and tickets to his shows sell out weeks in advance. In a long interview with TIME last year, Dieudonné said, “there is some paranoia among Jews. If I have deeply hurt anyone, I apologize.”

Dieudonné, who comes from a Cameroonian immigrant family, has built his fame around the ability to push buttons and cause offence. That, says, Verdier, is similar to Charlie Hebdo, whose humor regularly insults people. “Dieudonné is also controversial, he is also against religion,” he says. The comedian has irked the government for years, and instilled deep anxieties in French Jews, who see his brand of humor as giving voice to rising anti-Semitism in the country.

While the Charlie Hebdo attack brought huge global sympathy, it has also provoked a strong debate in France about the limits of free speech, something that does not have blanket legal protection as it does in the U.S.. Judges can deem remarks, for example, to further terrorism or racial violence, and denying the Holocaust is banned under law. French officials have ordered 54 investigations into hate speech since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Read next: Charlie Hebdo Attack Highlights the Challenge of the U.S.-Yemen Relationship

TIME France

New Charlie Hebdo Mocks, Commemorates and Sells Out

People wait outside a newsagents in Paris on Jan. 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo goes on sale.
Martin Bureau—AFP/Getty Images People wait outside a newsagents in Paris on Jan. 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo goes on sale.

Crowds queue in the darkness as newspaper prints 5 million copies

They are still deeply shaken and raw with grief. Their friends and colleagues are dead, and their offices are a blood-spattered crime scene with shattered windows. But on Wednesday, the journalists who survived last week’s Charlie Hebdo massacre pulled off what most print publications can only dream of: A runway hit issue that was sold out in hours and is expected to sell millions.

Exactly a week after gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical weekly, killing eight journalists and four others, people lined up for hours outside newsstands across France in the pre-dawn darkness, waiting to buy what is sure to be a collector’s item.

“I woke up at three o’clock this morning,” one young man told a French television channel outside a newsstand, a copy finally in his hands. “I’m happy, but at the same time I am really sad.” After distributors reported mid-morning that all French outlets had sold out, the editors opted to print an additional two million copies, bringing the total print run to five million. Until last week’s terror attacks, Charlie Hebdo distributed around 60,000 copies a week.

On eBay, copies of the newspaper were on sale for as much as $560.

The issue hit newsstands just as the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a YouTube video claiming responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack and saying it was “as vengeance for the Messenger of God,” apparently refering to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which Charlie Hebdo has published in the past.

But if surviving journalists are cowed by the threats, their new issue on Wednesday did not show it. On the cover is the Prophet Muhammad with a tear rolling down his left cheek, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the words: “All is Forgiven.” The editors explained that the cover line was an expression of forgiveness from the paper’s staff toward their attackers. Editor-in-chief Gérard Biard made their intent clear on a French radio program saying: It is we who forgive, not Muhammad,” referring to the speculation by some that the cover was a message about the paper being forgiven for publishing an image of the Prophet, an act that many Islamic leaders deem sacrilegious. In an interview with The Guardian, Charlie columnist Zineb El Rhazoui elaborated on the mood inside the publication: We feel that we have to forgive what happened. I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this …”

But it became clear early Wednesday morning that the issue was not being received well by Islamic groups. The Islamic website Tabnak wrote that “Charlie Hebdo has once again insulted the Prophet,” according to the French news agency AFP, and Egypt’s Islamic organization Dar al-Ifa called the new cartoon “unjustifiably provocative,” and warned that it would spark “a new wave of anger.”

In a highly emotional press conference on Tuesday, the cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz, 43, told reporters he had struggled through his trauma to create a cover drawing worthy of his dead colleagues; by chance, he had missed last Wednesday’s attack, having slept in late on his birthday. At times breaking down in tears, he said, “I wrote ‘all is forgiven’ and then I cried. We had our cover. We finally had our damn cover.”

Still, this week’s Charlie Hebdo, produced from a makeshift office within the Liberation newspaper, has little of the raw lampooning for which the satirical publication is famous. Instead, the 16-page issue seems like a tragic homage to slain friends, many of whose irreverant drawings are inside. There is also much commentary about the charged events of recent days, and even a touch of humor. The paper’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard writes in an editorial about their own response to the huge outpouring of sympathy across the world. “What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre-Dame [Paris’s cathedral] rang in our honor,” he writes, a reference to the paper’s strong attacks on religion, including Catholicism. More seriously, he pleads for the French to fight against discrimination against Muslims. “The social situation of people of Muslim origin in France is profoundly unjust,” he writes.

Some of the cartoons in this week’s issue now seem tragically on point, given last week’s attacks. One reprinted cartoon, by the artist Jean Cabut, who was killed in last week’s attack, takes a dig at the French government’s inability to monitor terrorists within the country — a criticism that is being loudly voiced in regard to the three men who terrorized Paris last week. The drawing shows a government unemployment office with armed men looking for work, their Kalashnikovs over their shoulders, while the woman at the desk asks if they would like jobs as security guards at a supermarket.

The back page is a collection of cartoons from those who’ve survived, showing impressive humor under grim circumstances. One cartoon is titled “new friends,” and shows an imam and the Pope flanked by a priest from the Orthodox church and a Jewish man in a skullcap. And then there is a Grim Reaper himself, laughing over an issue of Charlie Hebdo and saying, “I’m subscribing.”

The two-page center spread is a cartoon account of Sunday’s march, when more than a million people were on Paris’s streets. And one cartoon covers Boko Haram’s massacre this month in northern Nigeria, which killed up to 2,000 people, with one gunman saying to another, “2,000 subscribers Charlie won’t have.”

Despite having barely recovered from their traumatic ordeal last week, there was serious reporting too, including by Charlie Hebdo‘s investigative reporter Laurent Leger, who examined how French officials had failed to stop attacks by three known jihadists, in part, he reports, because different branches of French intelligence worked separately.

With their colleagues not yet buried, Charlie Hebdo‘s survivors are now left to face possible new wrath for this week’s cover — before again wondering how to survive as a tiny satirical weekly, with its staff gutted. “There will be a future,” Biard told reporters on Tuesday. “We do not know what it will be.”

Read next: Yemen’s al-Qaeda Claim Responsibility for Charlie Hebdo Attack

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME France

Mentor of Charlie Hebdo Gunman Says He Was Obsessed With Violence

The pair last spoke two months ago to discuss previous attacks

One of the two brothers who mounted the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last Wednesday, killing 12 people, was obsessed with violence and just two months ago debated the issue of murdering people in the name of Islam with his spiritual guide.

That revelation came on Tuesday morning in a French television interview with the man who 10 years ago turned Chérif Kouachi from a 22-year-old pot-smoking wannabe rap star, into a devout Muslim bent on fighting U.S. troops in Iraq. Kouachi, who was killed by police with his elder brother Saïd, became more radical than his mentor. “With him it always came back to the same conversation, everything revolved around combat,” said Farid Benyettou, 32, who is now a trainee nurse at a Paris hospital. “That is the only thing that interested him. So our discussions were around that subject.”

The interview was aired as four Jewish victims of Kouachi associate Amedy Coulibaly were buried in Jerusalem and Bulgarian police said they had arrested a man associated with the Kouachi brothers. Fritz-Joly Joachin, 29, was arrested under two European arrest warrants, one citing his alleged links to a terrorist organization, and a second for allegedly kidnapping his 3-year-old son and smuggling him out of the country, said Darina Slavova, regional prosecutor of the southern province of Haskovo on local television.

In 2004, Benyettou was the spiritual leader to a group of Muslim youth in Paris’s northeastern 19th district, which has a high concentration of immigrant families from North and West Africa. Benyettou’s followers were French-born Muslims of immigrant parents, and several of them then traveled to Iraq to fight with al-Qaeda. The youth came to be known as the Buttes-Chaumont group, after the local park where they exercised in order to train for combat. In a high-profile trial in Paris in 2008, Benyettou was convicted of recruiting Parisian youth to fight in Iraq, while several of his acolytes received jail terms for furthering terrorism. Chérif spent 18 months in jail and Benyettou served three years, emerging from prison in 2011 claiming to be a reformed man.

Speaking to French news channel iTele over coffee in a Paris café in a beige sweater, his face hidden from the camera, Benyettou said he had last seen Chérif two months ago. At that point, he tried to persuade him that there were limits to jihad — a discussion he suggested was a regular point of argument between them.

He said that two months ago, Chérif was keen to discuss Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old French-born Muslim of Algerian parents — just like Chérif and Benyettou — who went on a shooting spree in the southern city of Toulouse in 2012, killing three children at a Jewish school, and four others. “We came back to the Merah affair,” Benyettou says. “I said I was against what happened…. I was against the assassination of a child… He seemed to have accepted the criticism, accepted things he had not accepted previously.” Ultimately, he said, Chérif was “guided by ignorance.”

Benyettou used his interview also as a defense of himself, saying he believed that killing civilians was “terrorism.” French police questioned him after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, while the Kouachi brothers were still on the run — police cornered and killed them last Friday — but let him go after several hours.

Still, Benyettou’s revelations again raise the question of how many people realized that Chérif Kouachi and his older brother Saïd might be plotting an attack, and why they did not inform French police.

Neighbors of the Kouachis in the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers even broke into their apartment, because they were so concerned that they might be plotting an attack, since they heard incessant Koranic chanting through the walls. There, they told a reporter, they found a “cache of arms.” The brothers returned while they were still inside, and threatened to harm them if they went to the police. They did not — and sometime later, the brothers mounted their attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Read next: Charlie Hebdo Afflicted Us With Free-Speech Hindsight

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME France

French Intelligence Warns That There Might Be Worse Attacks to Come

French troops patrol around the Eiffel Tower on Jan. 12, 2015 in Paris.
Jeff J Mitchell—Getty Images French troops patrol around the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Jan. 12, 2015

In the aftermath of the Paris killings which left 17 dead, officials fear more sophisticated attacks

The French intelligence community believes that last week’s attacks in Paris which left 17 people dead could be a prelude to even more lethal attacks, a former counterterrorism official has warned.

Yves Trotignon, a former top counterterrorism official in DGSE, France’s equivalent to the CIA, told TIME on Monday, “There is a strong feeling that this is not over.” Trotignon, now a private terrorism consultant, said he was in close contact with French intelligence officials investigating last week’s attacks. He said most believe that although the instigators of last week’s attacks might all now be dead, “there is a strong feeling that maybe something more dangerous is ahead.”

French police said Monday that up to six members of the terrorist cell believed to be responsible for last Wednesday’s attacks may still be at large, the Associated Press reports. One was reportedly spotted driving a car registered to the widow of one of the attackers.

On Sunday more than a million people marched the streets of Paris in a show of defiance against terrorism after the French seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief on Friday when police killed all three armed jihadists, believing that the turmoil was finally over.

The sense that a larger-scale threat is in the works, perhaps elsewhere in Europe, echoes a warning from British intelligence. Last Thursday — one day after Saïd and Chérif Kouachi stormed the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office and killed 12 people — the head of Britain’s MI5 security agency, Andrew Parker, told defense and intelligence experts in London that British intelligence officers believed that terrorist groups were crafting “complex and ambitious plots” against Western targets, and said “a group of core al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass-casualty attacks against the West.”

On Friday, police killed the Kouachi brothers in a printing workshop outside Paris while at the same time others killed Amedy Coulibaly, who took control of a kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes and killed four hostages, one day after he shot dead a policewoman.

Despite the huge shock from last week’s attacks, in the eyes of intelligence officials, it was not a particularly major assault. In total, the three jihadists killed 17 people, including eight journalists and three police officers, before they were shot dead. While those numbers are a tragic loss, they are still far smaller than, for example, an attack on a crowded bus or train might be. On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers killed 52 people in London while the Madrid train bombing in 2004 left 191 dead. Speaking of last week’s attacks, Trotignon said that leaving aside the enormous turmoil, it could be far worse. “Of course it was a drama with a lot of dead people on the ground,” he said, then apologized for perhaps sounding callous. Still, he said, “these are not the worst possible terrorists in Europe.”

Although all three men are dead, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve opted to maintain the top-level security threat level in place across the country, saying that France was “under threat.” Yet averting the next terror attack could be a daunting task, Trotignon said. “It is impossible in all of Europe, not only in France but also Germany and everywhere, to monitor every guy coming from Syria or Iraq,” he said. “We know in the intelligence community that it is impossible.”

On Monday the government announced it was deploying 10,000 troops to protect hundreds of Jewish schools and synagogues across the country — the first time France has ever used military personnel to protect civilians, according to Army Colonel Benoît Brulen, speaking to a reporter in Paris’s 11th District, close to the site of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. “It is an indication of the level of menace we face,” he said.

TIME France

Paris Jews Reel After Deadly Kosher-Supermarket Attack

Boys in front of the Yeshiva Yad Mordechai in Le Marais, Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.
Julien Pebrel—MYOP for TIME Boys in front of the Yeshiva Yad Mordechai, a religious institution, in Le Marais, Paris, Jan. 11, 2015.

As they absorb the tragedy, many say they believe the killings prove that their fears have been well-grounded

Correction appended, Jan. 12

Last week’s chaotic violence in Paris reached a spectacular climax on Friday afternoon, when a lone gunman stormed through the doors of a kosher supermarket, Kalashnikov blazing, and took its customers siege. Four hostages died in the terrifying four-hour ordeal. Amedy Coulibaly’s assault in Paris’s easternmost neighborhood appeared to erupt out of nowhere after days dominated by the Charlie Hebdo massacre; it jangled already frayed French nerves and pushed security forces close to a breaking point.

The attack has been an intense shock to France’s 600,000 Jews. On Friday night, the city’s ornate Grand Synagogue in the traditional Jewish district of the Marais cancelled its Sabbath services for the first time in 70 years, when the neighborhood was under Nazi occupation.

And yet, despite the deep shock, French Jews say the very fact that there was a deadly assault on a kosher supermarket comes as little surprise.

MORE Kosher Supermarket Assault Confirms Worst Fears of French Jews

For months, indeed years now, French Jewish leaders have been warning government officials, journalists and each other that they sense a creeping anti-Semitism in the country, and that they increasingly feel a strong unease about their own security. About 7,000 French Jews left the country during 2014, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel, with many emigrating to Israel; that number is double the figure from 2013.

Some community leaders say hate speech against Jews has exploded in recent times, defanged of its stigma, thanks in part to figures like the hugely popular French-Cameroonian actor Dieudonné (recently profiled in TIME), whose one-man shows feature jokes about the Holocaust and play to packed audiences in Paris. And while statistics are difficult to confirm, Jewish organizations report rocketing numbers of anti-Semitic aggression, such as people desecrating Jewish gravestones and scrawling anti-Jewish graffiti. Last June, a small group of Muslims attacked Jewish stores and a synagogue in a Paris suburb. Sooner or later, many Jewish leaders have warned, there would be a truly violent attack.

That violent attack has now occurred. And as Jews absorb the tragedy, many say they believe the killings prove that their fears have been well-grounded, rather than exaggerated nervousness, as some French have believed. “There is a feeling of anger, and yet in a way this was expected,” Sasha Reingewirtz, president of the Union of French Jewish Students, told TIME on Sunday. He said he and others now hope that Friday’s attack will force a reckoning among non-French Jews about how to tackle anti-Semitism—and perhaps push French Muslim leaders to become far more vocal on the issue. “It is going to take years, but I really believe this week is a moment of change.”

The first such signs of change might have come on Sunday, when hundreds of people arrived at the mammoth solidarity march carrying hand-written signs saying, “Je suis Juif,” or “I am Jewish”—a symbolic show of empathy after the killings, even among those who were not in fact Jewish. Such overt support, Jewish leaders say, feels somewhat new. “I’m very hopeful,” said Rabbi Tom Cohen, an American immigrant in Paris. “I think all these events will lead the French to think about things.”

There are still deep anxieties among French Jews, however. On Sunday, the traditional shopping day in the Marais, Jewish store-owners said they had at first hesitated to open their doors. Once they did so, they were planning to beef up security.

Le Marais, Paris - In the bookshop: the owner and her son
Julien Pebrel—MYOP for TIMELouise Magnichever, owner of Librairie du Temple bookshop, and her son.

Louise Magnichever, who for 35 years has owned the neighborhood’s Librairie du Temple, a Judaica bookstore, said she and her son Zeev would install metal shutters that could drop quickly in the event of an attack. Zeev was also considering buying a gun to keep inside the store, she admitted, “but against a Kalashnikov what good is it going to do?”

Indeed, despite the kumbaya feeling of Sunday’s march—where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked among numerous heads of state, just a few yards from Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas—Jewish leaders fear that little will be done to tackle anti-Semitism once the turmoil of this past week subsides. Muslim leaders equally complain of being stereotyped and, just like French Jews, sense a rising level of violence against them. Several mosques have suffered attacks since last Wednesday’s massacre at the Charlie Hebdo office.

For now, both sides appear keen to work together against terror threats. On Saturday evening, several Islamic clerics joined a memorial service outside the site of Friday’s hostage siege at the kosher supermarket, and others attended a ceremony with Netanyahu at the Grand Synagogue on Sunday. Whether all that leads to change is yet unclear, however. “I hope this is a wake-up call,” said local real-estate agent Franck Cohen, 46, while standing on a sidewalk in the Marais on Sunday as thousands of people passed by in the unity march. “I hope this is the time they finally do something, rather than offer more words and empty assurances.”

—With reporting by Jay Newton-Small / Paris

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Zeev Magnichever was the husband of Louise Magnichever. He is her son.

Read next: Paris March Draws Huge Crowds

TIME France

Paris March in Solidarity Against Terror Attacks Was Largest in French History

Heads of state joined about 1 million people expressing solidarity against terrorist strikes

Correction appended, Jan. 11.

Heads of state from across Europe, Africa and the Middle East flew into Paris on Sunday to take to the streets alongside an estimated 1 million people in the city — including the entire French government. It was the largest demonstration in the country’s history, showing defiance and unity in the wake of a week marked by tumultuous violence and deep emotion in France.

With an estimated 1 million people on the streets, French police posted sharpshooters on the roofs of the buildings starting Sunday morning, along the 2.5-mile route of the march. Helicopters buzzed over central Paris as the city awoke to what would be yet another day for the history books.

Before the march began, the atmosphere was peaceful and friendly. Hundreds of parents brought small children, carrying them on their shoulders through the jam-packed streets.

At one sidewalk café on the edge of Place de la République, two small girls sat drawing signs, one reading, “Pour la France, Pour Charlie.”

Many wore “Je Suis Charlie” attire, or draped themselves in French flags. There were hundreds of hand-drawn signs too, reading “Je Suis Juif,” or “I Am Jewish,” not necessarily from Jews, but rather a mark of solidarity for those killed in the kosher-supermarket siege on Friday.

The police presence was heavy. People chanted, “Liberté, egalité, fraternité” (Freedom, equality, brotherhood), “Nous Sommes Tous Charlie” (We Are All Charlie) and “On N’a Pas Peur” (We Are Not afraid). “Merci à la Police” got more applause than anything else.

The march kicked off at 3 p.m., Paris time, and began along its route from the city’s Place de la République, a wide-open plaza that dominates the congested neighborhoods of eastern Paris, to the Place de la Nation farther east.

World leaders brushed off the risks to their own safety and seemed determined to be in Paris, first as a show of solidarity with those killed, and also as a statement that they are — at least right now — united against terrorism. The three days of chaotic violence resulted in the deaths of 20 people, including three terrorists, who died in a blaze of police gunfire on Friday evening. “The reaction of people, and now the reaction of the whole world, is unprecedented,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Europe 1 radio on Sunday morning. “This afternoon, Paris will be the world capital in the fight against terrorism.”

As a measure of how much this week’s killings have moved the world, the attacks, and Sunday’s march, brought together those who are bitterly divided back at home, but who for just a few chilly hours on a January Sunday in Paris stood and walked together.

The extraordinary mix included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Among other leaders in the march were British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, King Abdullah II of Jordan, the leaders of Spain, Italy and Portugal, and numerous others from West and North Africa, and the Persian Gulf. Also in Paris is U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Holder told reporters in Paris on Sunday that the White House would gather world leaders on Feb. 18 to discuss how to tackle extremism.

For Parisians, the weekend has brought a sense of both exhaustion and relief.

This week’s terrifying tumult — Wednesday’s massacre at the satirical Charlie Hebdo paper, Thursday’s shooting of police officers, and two violent hostage sieges on Friday — has left the country reeling and with much to contemplate: about the security of Paris, the country and Europe.

In a food market on Paris’ Left Bank on Sunday morning, the talk among vendors and shoppers focused almost solely on what everyone had experienced during the week. “Are you going to the march?” asked one woman to another. “Of course!” she replied. “Everyone is going.”

From early Sunday, hundreds of Parisians of all colors began pouring into Place de la République, which has been the focus of public mourning since Wednesday’s massacre, during which two brothers killed eight journalists, just a short walk away. The plaza has filled up with makeshift shrines of piles of flowers and candles; thousands of pens and pencils have been laid around the square’s huge fountain, in a symbolic tribute to the journalists killed in the attack. Eva Rosado, an 18-year-old studying in the northern city of Lille, said she had taken the train alone to Paris on Sunday, feeling she had to be at the march. “I haven’t been able to work at all this week,” she said. “I’ve woken up early every morning, wondering what is going to happen.”

Only 5 years old on 9/11, Rosado said that “this is the first attack I can really remember, and it has really affected me, the idea that people can come into central Paris with Kalashnikovs and kill people, it’s something I could never have imagined. But today at the march I feel safe, the security and police is very present.”

Laila Koumrane, an actress who moved to Paris from Morocco 15 years ago, brought her two children, ages 9 and 2, to the march. “We have a duty to show our children that we are not afraid. As Muslims, we have to condemn these acts of terrorism. I am proud to be here,” she said.

Leaving aside the raw emotions, there are urgent questions at stake. And well before the march began, leaders and officials gathering in Paris met to discuss issues that now are critically urgent. Chief among them: how to stop the wave of young Europeans who have joined jihadist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq from returning to mount terrorist attacks on home soil; how French intelligence failed to avert Wednesday’s attack; and how military-grade Kalashnikov rifles made their way into central Paris.

One of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, Saïd Kouachi, was well known to intelligence officers as having trained in Yemen with al-Qaeda’s franchise there; his brother Chérif had served time in jail for jihadist activities; and Amedy Coulibaly, who fatally shot a policewoman on Thursday and four hostages in a kosher supermarket on Friday, claimed his allegiance to the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, and has a girlfriend who is believed to have traveled to Syria last week to join the jihad.

The possibility of ISIS involvement in Paris’ attacks increased on Sunday, when a video emerged online showing Coulibaly with a Kalashnikov rifle under an ISIS flag, claiming that he had coordinated his attack this week with the Kouachi brothers.

Nonetheless, U.S. Attorney General Holder said Sunday that investigators do not yet have reliable information on which terrorist groups were responsible for the attacks.

Henry Querel, 55, who works for the Paris city council, said during Sunday’s march that the country should “ban people from going abroad to fight. But we cannot ban those that are already there from coming home if they are French citizens. We have to understand it’s brainwashing, they are not in their right mind.”

On Sunday morning top law-enforcement officials, including Holder, holed up at the French Interior Ministry in central Paris to discuss what to do. And despite the fact that all three of this week’s attackers are now dead, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday opted to keep in place a red-alert security-threat level nationwide, fearing that the week’s violence might not be over. “We are under threat,” he told reporters.

— With reporting by Naina Bajekal and Jay Newton-Small / Paris

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described a sign held at the massive unity march in Paris. The sign, which said Charlie Hebdo, Irresponsible Newspaper. Oil and Fire,” was quoting from a Charlie Hebdo cartoon, not criticizing the publication.

TIME France

Muslims in Neglected Paris Suburbs Worry Conditions Could Produce More Terrorists

Economic hardship and racism have pushed young Muslims further away from mainstream France

Just past the grandeur of postcard Paris, with its boulevards and old palaces, lies what seems like a different world: The banlieues, or suburbs, vast stretches of small brick shops and mosques, and crumbling high-rise apartment blocks, which were thrown up hurriedly 50 years to house the huge influx of immigrants from the French-speaking countries of North and West Africa, and now are home to hundreds of thousands of French-born Muslims.

Five decades on – and not for the first time – violent events are forcing the French and their government to grapple with the seemingly intractable problem of how to bridge the divide between two very different strata of French society: The powerful and the peripheral. France has about five million Muslims, Europe’s biggest Islamic popoulation. And it is within these low-income cités, or housing projects, outside Paris, where youth unemployment rates hover around 25%, that the Charlie Hebdo attackers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32 respectively, spent years of their young adult lives before dying in a blaze of police gunfire on Friday. Amedy Coulibaly, 32, the gunman who fatally shot a policewoman on Wednesday and then seized control of a kosher supermarket on Friday before police killed him at sundown, also most recently lived in a Paris banlieue. In all, 17 people died at the hands of these three attackers, including eight journalists and three police officers.

As Parisians absorb the enormity of this week’s killings, residents in some of these banlieues say their areas need urgent changes – better education and more job opportunities – to reverse the growing drift of young Muslims like the Kouachi brothers toward radical groups bent on advancing their beliefs through violence. “These terrorists carrying out such attacks in the name of Islam tend to have lives marked by frustration and failure,” says Djemoui Bennaceur, 53, an Algerian-born resident in the suburb of La Courneuve, a low-income district situated just five miles from affluent central Paris.

With French youth now wired and online, says Bennaceur, who emigrated to France in 1989 and is active in local politics, there are now plenty more opportunities for terrorist groups to recruit those stuck in dead-end suburban lives. “They are easily manipulated, particularly in a world where terrorists are experts in social media,” says Bennaceur, who runs a small shuttle service. That might partly explain the Kouachi brothers’ path to radical jihad, from a life of relative aimlessness. After the two became the prime suspects in last Wednesday’s massacre, during which they killed 12 people, Chérif’s former lawyer Vincent Ollivier described him to a French reporter as “part of a group of young people who were a little lost, confused, not really fanatics in the proper sense of the word.”

Both brothers worked occasional menial jobs and struggled to find steady work during their years living in low-income areas around Paris and elsewhere, according to French media reports this week. Chérif, who spent 18 months in jail in 2008 and 2009 for his jihadist activies, worked for a while delivering pizzas and in a supermarket in a Paris suburb. Orphaned at a young age, the brothers grew up partly in an orphanage in the western city of Rennes.

Older immigrants say they have witnessed a steady dwindling in young people’s prospects. “Things were not this way when I first came here 25 years ago,” Bennaceur says. “There were more opportunities to work and study. Since the financial crisis, that has changed and tensions have risen.”

When the Paris suburbs exploded in weeks of violent protests in November 2005, then-president Jacques Chirac vowed to pour billions into the banlieues with new housing, infrastructure and jobs. While there are some signs of that, investment has dried up since the recession hit in 2008, and as France has struggled with a ballooning public deficit. “After the riots the state did nothing,” says Farid Rebaa Jaafar, 52, vice president of the Mosque of Drancy, a suburb adjoining La Courneuve. “It became worse and worse.”

At least as urgent is anti-Muslim racism and what residents say is the persistent stigmatization of their neighborhoods. “The banlieues are still seen as shadow zones in France,” says student Sofiane Bouarif, 18, who was born and raised in La Courneuve, of Algerian immigrant parents.

Several French surveys have shown that many banlieue youth struggle to land job interviews — let alone jobs — solely because they have Muslim or African names, or because their addresses have zip codes signaling that they live in the poorer suburbs of Paris. Anti-racism organizations such as France’s SOS Racisme have long argued that job applications should be anonymous as a way of redressing the racial imbalances, and that the common French practice of including photographs on resumés reinforces racial stereotyping within companies looking to hire staff.

Many second and third-generation French from North or West African parents feel socially excluded from mainstream French society, despite being born within a half-hour’s train ride from the center of Paris. “They feel neither North African nor French,” says Jaafar, who arrived in Paris from Tunisia in 1979.

Jaafar says that for about five or six years, Muslim community leaders like himself have sounded the alarm about the need for change. “The state has not listened,” he says, adding that perhaps that change might finally come after the shock of this week’s violence.

TIME France

Paris Terror Attack Suspects Killed After Police Standoffs

Twin raids bring to an end hostage situations in an industrial estate and a Kosher grocery

Three terror suspects and four hostages were killed in France on Friday, as police brought to an end two separate hostage incidents relating to the deadly terror attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

In an industrial estate outside Paris, police killed the two brothers who allegedly mounted Wednesday’s devastating assault that killed 12 people and set off the biggest manhunt in modern French history.

Just a 15-minute drive away, SWAT teams killed another gunman who had holed up all afternoon in a kosher supermarket in a city suburb with several hostages. The siege left five dead in total, but the gunman’s alleged co-conspirator remained on the run Friday night, having escaped as police stormed the store.

Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32, the two French-born brothers who authorities say stormed Charlie Hebdo with Kalashnikovs and then fled in a stolen vehicle, holed up in a commercial building in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goèle early on Friday morning, holding one hostage inside. They were killed following a long standoff with police.

It now appears that the attack on Charlie Hebdo may have been plotted by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen. The Kouachis telephoned a French news channel, BFM Television, during the siege to tell them the attack had been ordered by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Later on Friday, an AQAP member claimed the group had directed the attack “as revenge for the honor” of the Prophet Muhammad, the AP reports.

As SWAT teams closed in on the Kouachis, a separate crisis unfolded in the Porte de Vincennes area, the easternmost edge of Paris. Inside the Hyper-Casher kosher supermarket, a gunman held several people hostage, and finally died in a blaze of gunfire as crack anti-terror forces stormed the building at sundown. The French ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, confirmed the news in a tweet:

That gunman, police said, was Amedy Coulibaly, 32, the same man believed to have opened fire on police officers in the southern Paris suburb of Montrouge on Thursday morning, after they stopped their car, and then fled the scene with girlfriend Hayat Boumedienne, 26. One of the officers, a woman, died of her injuries about two hours after the shooting.

Coulibaly also contacted BFM as he was under siege to say he had been acting on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), but the extremist group—which is not allied with al-Qaeda—has not claimed to have engineered that attack.

At least 10 hostages escaped, according to a Alliance Police Union spokesman, CNN reports—but Boumedienne is believed to have escaped from the store in the confusion as hostages fled the building. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that four hostages had died, and four more injured.

French President François Hollande urged his citizens to bind together against “fanatics who have nothing to do with the Muslim religion” in a speech on Friday.

“This solidarity is something that we have to show with all our capacity. We are a free people, we will not give in to any pressures or any fears,” he said. “I assure you that we will come out even stronger from this hardship.”

Speaking at an event in Tennessee, President Barack Obama said his aides had been in close contact with their French counterparts Friday as the hostage situations unfolded. “The United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” he said. “We grieve with you. … We grieve with you, we fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share, universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.

“In the streets of Paris, the world has seen once again what terrorists stand for,” Obama added. “They have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering.”

While Wednesday’s massacre and Thursday’s shooting at first appeared unconnected, French Prime Minister Manual Valls told reporters on Friday that the two were indeed linked, and that the Kouachi brothers seemed to have contact with Coulibaly.

French officials said on Thursday night that the older Kouachi brother, Saïd, had traveled to Yemen in 2011 for weapons training. Police have tracked Chérif, the younger brother, for years, after arresting him in 2004 while he tried to travel to Syria for military training, in order to move on to Iraq to fight U.S. troops as part of al-Qaeda’s franchise there.

French intelligence sources will now need to piece together the details—including the question as to how the Kouachis were able to pull off France’s worst terrorist attack in generations, against Charlie Hebdo‘s office, which had received multiple threats against it over the past few years.

A White House spokesperson said President Barack Obama had been kept updated on the situation, with national security agencies and White House officials in touch with their French counterparts on a “minute by minute” basis.

-Additional reporting by Zeke J Miller / Washington

Read next: Watch Parisians Vow To Stand Strong Against Terror Threat

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME France

Meet the Women the Paris Gunmen Spared

Staff arrive to attend an editorial meeting of French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and Liberation, Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Bertrand Guay—AFP/Getty Images Staff arrive to attend an editorial meeting of French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and Liberation, Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.

They said they don't kill women

Like most buildings in Paris, the one that houses Paris’s satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in the city’s 11th district has a security keypad outside, which requires residents to tap in a code before the front door clicks open. That might have been the sole obstacle the masked gunmen faced when they sprang from their car on Wednesday just before midday in the opening seconds of France’s biggest terror attack in generations. Their problem was solved by the arrival at that very moment of one of the paper’s cartoonists.

Corinne Rey, known by her pen name “Coco”, was racing to attend the weekly editorial meeting. She had just picked up her small daughter from a pre-school center and brought her to the office. “I had gone to fetch my daughter at day-care, and when I arrived at the door of the building of the paper two men, hooded and armed, brutally threatened us,” she said in an interview with the French newspaper L’Humanité, saying they demanded to know the door code.

Rey told police the men — the prime suspects are brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32 — spoke perfect French and said they were from al Qaeda. “They wanted to enter, to go upstairs,” she said.

Once inside the building, they killed the security guard in the lobby, before racing upstairs, where they opened fire on the staff members. “They shot [cartoonist Wolinski, Cabu,” she told L’Humanité, naming renowned French cartoonists Georges Wolinksi and Jean Cabut, who were among eight journalists killed in Wednesday’s attack.

There seems to be one reason Rey and her daughter survived the massacre: They were female.

In a separate interview with Radio France Internationale, Sigolène Vinson, a reporter for Charlie Hebdo, said she had crawled along a passage to escape the gunfire, when one of the gunmen spotted her and aimed his weapon at her, before opting not to pull the trigger. “I’m not killing you because you are a woman and we don’t kill women but you have to convert to Islam, read the Qu’ran and wear a veil,” she said.

That detail became highly relevant on Friday, when the suspects took a woman hostage in a commercial building just 25 miles northeast of Paris. The brothers were killed after a prolonged standoff with police; their hostage reportedly escaped the assault.

TIME France

Gunmen Take Hostages in 2 Standoffs With French Police

Second incident began when gunman opened fire in a kosher supermarket

French police were negotiating Friday with two sets of gunmen who are believed to have taken hostages in two separate but linked incidents two days after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris. The sounds of gunshots and loud explosions at both sites could be heard on local television broadcasts Friday evening.

Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the prime suspects in the killing of 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, were located by police northeast of Paris and then chased to a factory on an industrial estate where they are believed to have taken one hostage. French officials said they had made contact with the brothers who told them that they want to die as martyrs.

As that siege unfolded, a man believed to be Amedy Coulibaly, 32, a suspect in the fatal shooting of a policewoman on Wednesday, attacked customers at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes in the east of Paris. Local media said several were injured and at least two killed in the shooting before Coulibaly took refuge in the supermarket with at least five hostages.

Police assumed the Wednesday shooting was just a tragic coincidence, unrelated to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. But on Friday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters that the two incidents were in fact connected, and that the shooter had communicated with the Kouachi brothers—suggesting that Wednesday’s attack might be part of a bigger plan. “The latest advances in the investigation allows us to establish a connection” between the two incidents, Valls said on Friday afternoon, while he was meeting the grief-sticken staff members of Charlie Hebdo, at the offices of the French daily newspaper Libération.

Police said they were also looking for Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, in connection with Wednesday shooting. It is not clear if she was with Coulibaly at the Porte de Vincennes. Le Monde reported that Boumeddiene was Coulibaly’s former girlfriend.

Earlier in the morning, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, aged 34 and 32, fled the wooded areas further of Paris in a Peugeot car they hijacked on the road, according to French media reports. Shortly after there was sounds of gunfire, as the suspects fled towards CTF Creation Tendance Decouverte, a sign making and printing factory in an industrial zone close to Paris’s main airport.

For the first time since Wednesday, French officials sounded confident that they were close to a climax in the manhunt. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on Friday morning that SWAT teams had the men cornered in the factory in Dammartin-en-Goèle and that special forces were on site, ready to move in. “Operations will be conducted in the hours, the minutes,” he said shortly after 10 a.m.

France Info radio interviewed a man who gave his name as Didier who said he went into the factory when the gunmen were there. He had an appointment with the factory manager and he shook the hand of one of the gunmen who he took to be a police officer. “We all shook hands and my client told me to leave.” Didier said the gunman told him: “Go, we don’t kill civilians”. He added “I thought it was strange.”

He said: “As I left I didn’t know what it was, it wasn’t normal. I did not know what was going on. Was it a hostage taking or a burglary?”

Christelle Alleume, who works across the street, said that a round of gunfire interrupted her coffee break Friday morning.

“We heard shots and we returned very fast because everyone was afraid,” she told i-Tele. “We had orders to turn off the lights and not approach the windows.”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said both men were known to intelligence services.

On Thursday evening French officials told the U.S. that Saïd Kouachi had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and received weapons training from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Anwar al-Awlaki, a leader of AQAP died in a U.S. drone attack that same year. The younger brother Chérif spent 18 months in jail in 2008 for having attempted to fight with jihadist groups against U.S. forces in Iraq. Police had monitored his radical views for years. By contrast to his brother, Saïd had managed to escape arrest so far. Cazeneuve said on Thursday that the older Kouachi brother “has never been prosecuted or convicted, but has appeared on the periphery of judicial cases.”

The head of Britain’s MI5 security agency said on Thursday that British intelligence believed terror networks were actively planning “complex and ambitious plots” against Western targets. Speaking at MI5 headquarters in London, Andrew Parker told members of the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank, that those fighting in Syria were currently plotting assaults abroad. “We know, for example, that a group of core al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” he said.

Malcolm Rifkind, a British legislator and chairman of the House of Commons intelligence and security committee said the brothers had been in close contact with associates in Yemen in recent days. “What is emerging in Paris is that the two individual responsible for the terrible massacre at Charlie Hebdo were communicating with people in the Yemen over the last days, last few weeks,” he told the BBC.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com