A Paris court last week heard how an Islamist terrorist asked hostages whether they wanted him to “finish off” another victim to silence his moans.
Eric Cohen, the father of one of the four Jews murdered at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on 9th January 2015, wept as he heard how it took more than three hours for his son to die after he was shot by the terrorist Amedy Coulibaly.
As well as the four victims at the kosher supermarket, twelve civilians were killed by Islamist terrorists two days earlier at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Describing Mr Coulibaly as “cold-blooded” and “contemptuous” toward his victims, supermarket employee Zarie Sibony said that she remembered that he interrogated all the hostages at the market, asking their religion. All but two were Jewish. He told the hostages: “You have chosen the wrong day to go shopping in a kosher store.” He also told Ms Sibony: “You represent the two things I hate most: You’re Jewish and French.”
Ms Sibony offered Mr Coulibaly a large amount of cash to leave the remaining hostages unharmed. He mocked her, she said, disclosing that he was a colleague of the Kouachi brothers, the terrorists who had carried out the massacre 12 at Charlie Hebdo two days prior, and that he intended to die as a “martyr”.
Fourteen suspects are currently on trial in Paris charged with offences relating to the two terrorist attacks in the French capital in early 2015. However, Mr Coulibaly’s wife, Hayat Boumeddienne, dubbed “France’s most-wanted woman”, is absent, having fled from France prior to the attack for ISIS-controlled Syrian territory. According to French intelligence, she remains at large. Mr Coulibaly and two others were killed by police during the attacks.
Mr Cohen now lives in Israel, while the sister of another victim recalled that her brother had expressed concern at the growing antisemitism in France prior to the attack and was also planning to leave the country for Israel.
The court also learned of the heroism of customer Yoav Hattab, who was shot after he tried to grab an automatic rifle from Coulibaly.
His father said: “I am proud of my son. He obeyed the commandment to save human life.”
A Mali-born practicing Muslim who worked at the supermarket has received French citizenship in recognition of his bravery in sheltering hostages in other rooms in the building.
The trial continues.