Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist gunman who allegedly killed four people and held others hostage before he was killed by French security forces at a kosher store in Paris on Friday, reportedly told a French journalist at the height of the siege that he had deliberately chosen to target Jews.
“He explained his target, why this kosher store: because he was targeting Jews,” French BFM-TV journalist Sarah-Lou Cohen said.
She said Coulibaly called the TV station soon after 3p.m. Paris time. “We got a phone call” from Coulibaly, Cohen said. “He called us because in fact he was looking to contact the police.”
“He claimed to be part of the Islamic State very clearly,” Cohen said, according to a report on Vox.com. “He said he had instructions from the caliphate. And then another very important element, evidently, as we were saying in the afternoon, he established a link with the Kouachi brothers” — the gunmen who killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on Wednesday.
Coulibaly spoke to BFM journalist Alexis Delahousse, she said, and told him that he and the Kouachi brothers had planned their attacks together.
“He explained also why he did this: to defend oppressed Muslims, he said, notably in Palestine,” Cohen continued. “And finally he explained his target, why this kosher store: because he was targeting Jews.”
Some 30 terrified shoppers at the kosher supermarket Hypercacher Alimentation Générale in Paris’s Porte-de-Vinnences hid in a freezing cold storage room underground for hours as Coulibaly and his wife-accomplice stormed the grocery store amid a hail of gunfire. The terrorists killed four people in the initial attack, and held several more people captive including women and children, a French prosecutor said. Fifteen hostages were freed, some of them reportedly badly injured.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins also said that several people have been handed preliminary charges in the investigation following the three-day rampage that has terrified France. They include family members of the three gunmen, who were killed by police Friday.
Coulibaly also killed a policewoman in Montrouge on Thursday, as part of a series of radical Islamist attacks in and around Paris.
On Friday, Cherif and Said Kouachi, who were on the run since Wednesday’s attack, holed up a print business in Dammarin-de-Goel north-east of Paris and held one person captive, before they were killed by French forces and the hostage freed.
Molins added that one of the brothers was wounded in the throat in a shootout with police before being killed later in the day.