So much has happened within the last 24 hours. I plan on updating this blog post periodically throughout the weekend as more information comes to light.
As I discussed yesterday, three scoundrels were involved in a shooting in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine who operates out of Paris on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. 12 people were killed by the terrorists, including Stephane Charbonnier, the editor of the magazine. Their magazine has developed a reputation for publishing controversial, yet satirical and amusing cartoon images. Political cartoons are nothing new in thriving democracies. They made enemies within the more radical Islamic community who were none too pleased about their depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
Among the events which I failed to mentioned before, was the killing of a Muslim police officer outside of the office of Charlie Hebdo. He was one of the 12 victims. His killing resulted in the new hashtag #JeSuisAhmed or “I Am Ahmed” in solidarity of the fallen officer.
Again, there was too much conflicting information floating around about the location of the suspects at the time I wrote my original blog. I am going to summarize what I have gathered from multiple, credible news networks since the original killings at Charlie Hebdo.
When one of the scoundrels turned himself in on Wednesday, police searched the city of Reims in Champagne, where he had turned himself into police. Nine people were taken in for questioning believed to be associated in one way or another with the brother scoundrels on Thursday, January 8.
Another police officer was killed yesterday in a shootout that was later labelled an act of terrorism by law enforcement. The shooting accorded in a suburb of Paris called Montrouge. There was some uncertainty as to whether the suspect in that shooting was acting independently of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo killings or whether they were somehow connected. It is still relatively unclear at this stage whether they were working together, however information which will soon be discussed seems to lend insight into that question.
Two separate hostage situations have unfolded today, Friday January 9, 2015. I will discuss these separately.
Hostage Situation #1: The police closed in around the suspects of the Charlie Hebdo massacre at a site in a town 25 miles northeast of Paris called Dammartin-en-Goele. According to a report by NPR, police were tipped off about the suspects location when a resident reported that their car had been stolen. Sources indicate that a hostage was hiding in a cardboard box who was informing the security forces. The site is a printing plant. It has been reported by the New York times and others that the suspects were holding a single hostage. The below image shows the proximity of the site to the Charles de Gaulle airport.
Hostage Situation #2: The second hostage situation unfolded near Porte de Vincennes, which is located on the eastern side of Paris. Multiple sources reported, including the New York Times, that police ordered stores on Rue des Rosiers to close. It was originally reported that 6 people were taken as hostages in a Kosher grocery store. The Washington Post has since updated that number to 15. It is believed that the police officer who was killed yesterday was murdered by the same suspect involved in the hostage situation. The suspect indicated that he would kill the hostages should there be any harm to the scoundrels who were involved in the Charlie Hedbo killing. So from this demand, it seems to indicate that there was some connection between the three suspects, but we do not know enough to completely confirm that at this time. The hostage situations were occurring simultaneously. As the suspect was holding the hostages in Porte de Vincennes and the police were surrounding him, the police were simultaneously surrounding the two suspects at the site in Dammartin-en-Goele.
Law enforcement launched practically simultaneous raids on the two sites of the hostage takers, with the raid occurring first in Dammartin-en-Goele followed by the raid in eastern Paris.
Reuters reported that gunfire and explosives were heard at the print factory in Dammartin-en-Goele. Colleen Callahan, a freelance reporter tweeted to Reuters that the suspects were killed.
The Associated Press reported shortly thereafter that the hostage who was taken was freed.
Agence France-Presse reported as the raid unfolded near Porte de Vincennes.
Reuters reported that the hostage taker at the Kosher supermarket was also dead as a result of the raid by law enforcement.
Later reports found that four of the hostages were killed and five were injured. The Washington Post reported that a statement from French President Francois Hollande confirmed that the number of hostages killed was four.
That brings the total number of civilians killed in this tragedy to 15, with two officers killed and the 3 scoundrels who were responsible for the bloodshed. The New York Times has reported that the police are calling the terrorist who occupied the grocery store an “associate” of the Charlie Hebdo killers. Intelligence is currently being gathered to see if more links between the murderers can connect them further.
Police have yet to locate an additional suspect who may have been an accomplice to the police shooter/hostage taker/scoundrel killed earlier today.
One of the scoundrels who occupied the printing warehouse (again, I am refusing to use their names so that anyone who reads this will only remember them for who they truly are) claimed to have been sent by an Al Queda of Yemen. The scoundrel who occupied the grocery store claimed to be a member of the Islamic State movement.
With the prime suspects killed and one still at large, I also wanted to note that the magazine Charlie Hebdo intends on releasing an 8 page issue which will reportedly have 1,000,000 copies printed. The acts of cowardice displayed by these gunmen cannot keep those who wish to shine a light upon the atrocities of this world, through journalism or even satire. They have simply failed. They have failed in their objective to stop this magazine and they have further united the world against the radical extremists who wish to spread their message of intolerance and hate across the globe. These scoundrels do not represent the Muslims who peacefully live throughout the world and I hope that those who are enraged by these attacks take that into account. These scoundrels represent only themselves and the terrorist organizations with which they claim to be affiliated.
One very valuable lesson that I have learned from this attempt to inform those viewing my blog on wordpress about today’s events is that it can be extremely challenging retrieving accurate information to relay. I live in Minnesota which, for those of you who do not know is a state in Midwest of the United States. I am forced to rely upon information reported by international reporters and they are relying on witness accounts and other associate presses. The number of hostages alone in the grocery store went from 6 to 15 in a matter of hours.
A third hostage situation in Montpellier had been reported but officials in the city told Independent UK that the situation was unrelated to the previous acts of terrorism. It appears to be an attempted robbery. I would argue the worst day to attempt such foolishness considering the level of security that police officials throughout France are on right now.
I will continue to update the blog as more information comes to light.
Much more to come.