According to media reports, Amedy Coulibaly, an associate of the two brothers responsible for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, was only eliminated after police successfully connected to the supermarket's security cameras and saw the suspect kneel down to pray.
French media reported the 32-year-old suspect shot and killed three people with his entry into the kosher store, before taking the remaining customers hostage. Some managed to escape into the freezers, and went unnoticed by the gunman. At least one managed to contact a family member.
Sky News reported that French police hooked up to the CCTV cameras at the kosher market, enabling officers to closely track the developments throughout the saga – which began at 2:30 pm and ended with the dramatic raid shortly after 6 pm.
The British news network also reported that another hostage-taker successfully eluded the police.
The raid to release the hostages in the supermarket began within minutes of another SWAT raid on the plant in which the Kouachi brothers were hiding. According to reports, one of the employees in the factory saw the terrorists arriving with a Kalashnikov rifle and hid under nearby boxes.
He contacted security forces who surrounded the place – without the Kouachi brothers discovering he was in the building. The man directed police to their exact location.
The two terror cases were linked as the supermarket gunman threatened to murder the hostages if the Kouachi brothers were not allowed to leave the plant unharmed.
At 5:53 pm, as special forces were preparing their respective raids, the French interior ministry said that they intended to negotiate with the hostage-takers, warning the incident could take hours – or even days – before reaching a resolution.
At that same moment, the French television networks halted their live broadcasts from the scene – as per the police's request – and journalists were pulled back from the area.
Then, shortly before 6 pm, the Kouachi brothers left the factory and opened fire on the forces surrounding the complex. The SWAT teams returned fire, killing the two terrorists. Two police officers were wounded in the exchange, and it was reported one succumbed to his wounds.
According to reports, the raids were not planned ahead of time and only began following the gunfire of the terrorist brothers. But the moment the first incident occurred, the signal was given for the dramatic raid on the kosher mart in Paris.
Explosions and gunshots were heard on the scene as the SWAT forces entered and eliminated Amedy Coulibaly, freeing at least five hostages, including a baby. Two police officers were wounded in the raid.
After neutralizing the threat, the French police were horrified to discover the bodies of four hostages, shot in cold blood, and four hostages critically wounded.
Yaffa Iron-Kutz contributed to this report.