Four Jewish victims mourned as France readies for large anti-terror rally
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LIVEBLOG January 10 (closed)

Four Jewish victims mourned as France readies for large anti-terror rally

French PM: ‘France without its Jews is no longer France’; Netanyahu, Abbas to attend Paris rally against terrorism Sunday; killer’s wife-accomplice may be in Syria

  • Illustrative: A demonstration attended by an estimated 45,000 on the old harbor in Marseille, southern France,  January 10, 2015. (AFP/Anne -Christine Poujoulat)
    Illustrative: A demonstration attended by an estimated 45,000 on the old harbor in Marseille, southern France, January 10, 2015. (AFP/Anne -Christine Poujoulat)
  • In this undated picture, Hayat Boumedienne, is seen holding what appears to be a crossbow. (Photo screenshot: Itele)
    In this undated picture, Hayat Boumedienne, is seen holding what appears to be a crossbow. (Photo screenshot: Itele)
  • A man wearing a kippa cries near a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, in eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015, a day after four people were killed at the Jewish supermarket by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly during a hostage-taking. (Photo credit: AFP/ KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
    A man wearing a kippa cries near a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, in eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015, a day after four people were killed at the Jewish supermarket by jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly during a hostage-taking. (Photo credit: AFP/ KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
  • A woman cries outside a kosher grocery store, where four hostages were killed on Friday, in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/David Azia)
    A woman cries outside a kosher grocery store, where four hostages were killed on Friday, in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/David Azia)
  • Women give out white roses near the Capitole building in Toulouse, southern France, where on the facade is projected the words "Toulouse est Charlie" (Toulouse is Charlie), on January 9, 2015 (Photo credit: Remy Gabalda/AFP)
    Women give out white roses near the Capitole building in Toulouse, southern France, where on the facade is projected the words "Toulouse est Charlie" (Toulouse is Charlie), on January 9, 2015 (Photo credit: Remy Gabalda/AFP)
  • Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ THOMAS SAMSON)
    Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ THOMAS SAMSON)
  • A woman lays flowers near a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/ KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
    A woman lays flowers near a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/ KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
  • Hostages (bottom right) flee the Hyper Cacher supermarket as French security forces storm the building, January 9, 2014. (YouTube screenshot)
    Hostages (bottom right) flee the Hyper Cacher supermarket as French security forces storm the building, January 9, 2014. (YouTube screenshot)
  • Hayat Boumeddiene, left, and Amedy Coulibaly, right, who are suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/FRENCH POLICE)
    Hayat Boumeddiene, left, and Amedy Coulibaly, right, who are suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/FRENCH POLICE)
  • French police special forces evacuate residents in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, after a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store, January 9, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Martin Bureau)
    French police special forces evacuate residents in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, after a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store, January 9, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/Martin Bureau)
  • A policeman carries flowers brought by people in front of a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 (photo credit: AFP / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
    A policeman carries flowers brought by people in front of a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on January 10, 2015 (photo credit: AFP / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
  • This photo provided by the Paris Police Prefecture Thursday, January 8, 2015, shows the suspects Cherif Kouachi, left, and Said Kouachi. (photo credit: AP/Prefecture de Police de Paris)
    This photo provided by the Paris Police Prefecture Thursday, January 8, 2015, shows the suspects Cherif Kouachi, left, and Said Kouachi. (photo credit: AP/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

On Saturday, France was reeling from a string of terror attacks that horrified the country, culminating Friday in an attack on a kosher market and a standoff between police and the two terrorists who had killed 12 people in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The four Jewish victims of the attack on the market were named on Saturday afternoon, as Israeli leaders called for French Jews to immigrate and details about the attacks continued to emerge. Meanwhile, leaders around the world, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, announced plans to attend a massive rally in Paris Sunday afternoon that is expected to draw about a million people. In New York, Tel Aviv and around France, vigils were held for the 17 victims of the terror attacks, and a manhunt was underway to find the wife and accomplice of kosher market terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who may have fled to Syria. The Times of Israel liveblogged developments through Saturday. Friday’s liveblog is here.

Hunt for gunman’s wife goes on; fear palpable among French Jews

A day after four people were killed by an Islamist gunman at a Paris kosher supermarket, a hunt is continuing Saturday for the killer’s wife-accomplice.

Jewish leaders in France are acknowledging the sense of fear in the community amid the new wave of Islamist terror.

Israel’s Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid is urging Europe’s Jews to move to Israel.

French Jews ponder their future amid increasing hate

As morning rose on the Sabbath, and with numerous synagogues and other Jewish institutions throughout France under heavy security, many French Jews said they feel in more danger than ever in their homeland in the face of burgeoning anti-Semitism.

“It is impossible to live like this,” Daniel Corcos, a Jewish Parisian who frequents the kosher shop targeted by terrorists on Friday, told the Wall Street Journal.

“The Jew isn’t safe in France,” he says. “You go to buy food, and you’re dead.”

He adds: “If you think a lot of Jews left France last year, this year the number is going to be five times higher.”

The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)

The Grand Synagogue in Lyon, France. (photo credit: CC-BY Anne Varak, Flickr)

A man identified as T. Meyer tells WSJ he was not surprised by the attacks.

“There are too many crazy people, and I don’t think this will stop. I don’t have much hope that France will take the required forceful measures of finding and kicking out the extremists. France isn’t strong enough to (do) something like that.”

Sacha Reingewirtz, the president of the French Jewish Student Union, tells USA Today France had become unsafe for anyone outwardly identifying as Jewish.

“What the government is doing to protect us is not enough. I refuse to have Jews here living behind walls in fear of their lives,” he says. “We need more than a security plan but an educational plan to fight against stereotypes.”

The BBC’s Katie Razzall also reports on the climate of fear in the Jewish community, noting that many were unwilling to be interviewed on camera, fearing for their safety.

“From conversations we’ve had it’s clear that around the Sabbath tables tonight they’re asking whether France is still a place they can call home,” she says.

Le Figaro: Jewish community’s fear ‘palpable’

French newspaper Le Figaro reported earlier Saturday on the “palpable” fear in the Jewish community following Friday’s attack at a kosher grocery store — only the latest in a string of anti-Semitic attacks in recent years.

Moshe Lewin, an advisor to France’s Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, tells Le Figaro that French authorities owe the Jewish community explanations on the measures being taken to guarantee its security.

“If the means being used are not sufficient, the efforts of the chief rabbi to convince French Jews not to leave the country will be in vain,” he notes.

One young rabbi who refused to be identified tells the paper he does not know whether he will reopen his synagogue.

“It’s not even panic, it’s worse,” he says. “The people of the community do not dare leave their homes.”

“We are shocked,” says Parisian rabbi Chaim Schneour Niesenbaum. “All the values of the West are under attack.”

However, Niesenbaum insists that the community will not allow the terrorists a victory. “We will not change our lifestyles,” he says.

Jewish Chronicle editor on the Jewish ‘exodus’ from France

Editor of the UK’s Jewish Chronicle Stephen Pollard describes the “exodus” of French Jews in an article for the Telegraph, saying that 10,000 had previously been expected to emigrate to Israel this year — a number he expects to rise significantly in light of this weeks events.

“Every French Jew I know has either already left or is working out how to leave,” he notes. “When it comes to home grown anti-Semitism, France leads the world.”

Police question family of supermarket gunmen’s wife-accomplice

Police are still searching for Hayat Boumeddiene, who is suspected of aiding Amedy Coulibaly in carrying out the attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris.

Hayat Boumeddiene , 26, is wanted by French police for her suspected involvement in siege at kosher market  in Paris on January 9, 2015 and the killing of a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

Hayat Boumeddiene , 26, is wanted by French police for her suspected involvement in siege at kosher market in Paris on January 9, 2015 and the killing of a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

Investigators are questioning Boumeddiene’s family members, according to sources speaking to the Telegraph.

Boumeddiene married Coulibaly in a religious ceremony.

But they have not had the civil wedding required to make it official in France.

Her mugshot was released by police along with that of Coulibaly in connection with Thursday’s shooting of a policewoman.

Boumeddiene is described by police as “armed and dangerous”.

Imam recalls how he ‘lost’ Paris terrorist

An imam from a Paris suburb says he was acquainted with Cherif Kouachi, one of the terrorists behind the killing of 12 people Wednesday at the offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

“Cherif was a very good guy but I lost him two or three years ago,” Mehdi Bouzid says during an interview with BBC Radio 4.

“I played football with him. I spoke with him the first time he wanted to go to Iraq, to tell him it is not a solution, you don’t know for whom you are fighting.”

This photo provided by the Paris Police Prefecture Thursday, January 8, 2015, shows the suspects Cherif Kouachi, left, and Said Kouachi. (photo credit: AP/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

This photo provided by the Paris Police Prefecture Thursday, January 8, 2015, shows the suspects Cherif Kouachi, left, and Said Kouachi. (photo credit: AP/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

Bouzid says he is shocked over the the attack, but urges French citizens to attempt and understand Muslim sensitivities.

“I never suspected he could make this thing. When we saw the pictures I recognized the way he walks in the video, I recognized his voice,” Bouzid continues.

“I don’t justify any attacks, but when you look at their past, when you don’t have any identity, when you don’t belong, you can take some very, very ugly act,” he says. “When you know that something hurts me, you have to respect me, and Charlie Hebdo don’t respect that.”

Bouzid argues that “when you have a Muslim name it is very difficult to find a job, to make your prayer, to wear your veil.”

He says “it’s a challenge for France. They have to think about this, because we are here, I was born here, I have my family here, I dream in French, I am French.”

“I am not alarmist,” he continues. “But maybe in a few weeks, in a few months, we will notice that there will be some bad things in France.”

Liberman to reevaluate security measures at embassies

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will hold a phone conversation tonight with security officials as well as Israeli diplomats in Paris, in the wake of the past week’s deadly attacks in France, the NRG news site reports.

The conversation will center around the security measures required in order to ensure the safety of Israeli embassies and Israeli representatives around the world.

‘Our country is not the only one dealing with terror’

“We are determined to proceed in a way to protect the peace and to discover who was involved with these criminal acts,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said at a press conference a short while ago.

“Our country is not the only one to be confronted by the risk of terrorism in the European Union.”

He says France will “establish a ‘defense zone’ which will allow us to deploy a responsive reaction force,” and adds that the country’s plans “are always being adapted.”

Cazeneuve adds all measures have been taken to secure Sunday’s planned rally, which will be attended, among others, by British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

‘The octopus arms of Islamism will strike Europe’

Israeli Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis says that the EU decision to take Hamas off its terrorist organization list last month signaled to extremists across Europe that they could carry out deadly attacks such as the ones witnessed in France.

Ofir Akunis (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Shay Hayak/Wikipedia)

Ofir Akunis (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Shay Hayak/Wikipedia)

“Anyone can see that the octopus arms of Islamism will strike at Europe,” he tells Army Radio.

Akunis is a Knesset member from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, and a former Netanyahu aide.

88,000 cops spread out across Paris

Eighty-eight thousand police officers are searching throughout Paris for Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife-accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages at the kosher market.

Security officials say Boumeddiene is likely armed, and is most probably planning to carry out another attack, Channel 10 News reports.

Lapid urges French Jews to move to Israel

Former finance minister Yair Lapid calls on French Jews to immigrate to Israel.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, January 1, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, January 1, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/FLASH90)

“Terrorism and racism must be dealt with firmly and without compromise; this realization is now reaching the Europeans,” Lapid says during an event in Beersheba.

“European Jewry should understand that there is only one home for Jews and that is the State of Israel”

Tens of thousands rally across France after attacks

Tens of thousands of people are rallying across France in solidarity with the victims of this past week’s attacks in Paris, AFP reports.

Charlie cartoonist says he ‘vomits’ on new friends

A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaps scorn on the French satirical weekly’s “new friends” since the massacre at its Paris offices on Wednesday.

“We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh,” Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, tells the Dutch center-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published Saturday.

France’s far-right National Front leader “Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place,” Willem, 73, a longtime Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation, adds.

“We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”

Commenting on the global outpouring of support for the weekly, Willem scoffs: “They’ve never seen Charlie Hebdo.”

“A few years ago, thousands of people took to the streets in Pakistan to demonstrate against Charlie Hebdo. They didn’t know what it was. Now it’s the opposite, but if people are protesting to defend freedom of speech, naturally that’s a good thing.”

Willem was on a train between northwestern Lorient and Paris when he learned of Wednesday’s attack by two Islamist gunmen as the paper was holding its weekly editorial meeting.

“I never come to the editorial meetings because I don’t like them. I guess that saved my life,” he says.

Willem stresses that Charlie Hebdo must continue to publish. “Otherwise, (the Islamists) have won.”

-AFP

Disneyland Paris evacuated following false alarm

French newspaper Le Parisien reports that the Disneyland Paris theme park was partially evacuated for security reasons.

Park officials later said the scare had been a false alarm, according to the French publication.

Survivor describes how supermarket gunman killed customer who confronted him

A customer at the kosher supermarket in Paris managed to snatch one of the terrorist’s guns during the hostage crisis at the site, a survivor who wished to be known as Mickael B has told the French Le Point.

The customer turned the gun on Amedy Coulibaly but discovered the weapon was jammed. The terrorist then executed the customer on spot.

“I was heading for the check-out with the goods in my hand when I heard a bang – very loud,” said Mickael, who had entered the store with his 3-year-old son.

“I thought it was a firecracker at first. But turning I saw a black man armed with two Kalashnikov rifles and I knew what was happening.”

“I grabbed my son by the collar and fled to the back of the store. There, with other customers, we ran down a spiral staircase into the basement. We all piled into one of two cold rooms – our door wouldn’t close. We were terrified.”

“Five minutes later a store employee was sent down by the killer. She said he said we were to go back up otherwise there’d be carnage. I refused to go up.”

French police released this photo of Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015, and four people at a Paris kosher supermarket on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

French police released this photo of Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a policewoman in Montrouge on January 8, 2015, and four people at a Paris kosher supermarket on January 9, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/French Police)

“By now my son, understanding nothing, was panicking. Then minutes later the employee comes back down with the same message. This time I decided to follow her up the spiral staircase.”

“At the top a man was dying in a pool of his own blood. The terrorist introduced himself to us. He was strangely calm. ‘I am Amedi Coulibaly, Malian and Muslim. I belong to the Islamic State,’ he told us.”

“Then he told us to put our phones on the ground. He walked around the store, armed, totally justifying himself, speaking of Palestine, French prisons, his brothers in Syria and many other things.

“Suddenly one of the customers tried to grab one of his guns which he’d left on the counter. It wasn’t working. The terrorist had put it there because it had blocked after the first shots,” Mickael told Le Point.

“He turned and shot at the customer who died on the spot.”

Hamas condemns Charlie Hebdo massacre

Palestinian terror group Hamas condemns the attack Wednesday by jihadist brothers at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, killing 12 people.

There is no word from the terror group on the kosher market attack in Paris yesterday in which four hostages were killed by a third jihadist claiming to be from the Islamic State.

In a statement sent out the press, Hamas says it “condemns the aggression against the magazine Charlie Hebdo and insists that differences of opinions of views do not justify murder.”

The group also rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments, in which he compared the Paris attack to Hamas firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at civilians in Israel.

“Hamas condemns the desperate attempts by… Netanyahu to make a connection between our movement and the resistance of our people on the one hand and global terrorism on the other,” the statement reads.

— AFP contributed to this report

Coulibaly may have shot, critically injured jogger before killing policewoman

The kosher market attacker, Amedy Coulibaly, may have been the gunman behind the lethal shooting of a jogger Wednesday night in the southwestern Paris suburb of Fontenay-aux-Roses, a source close to the investigation tells Le Point.

The shooting occurred hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre and police suspect Coulibaly, who lived in the same suburb, was the shooter.

The 32-year-old jogger was shot in the leg and back by an automatic weapon, the source says.

Police confirmed Friday that Coulibaly was the gunman who shot and killed a policewoman in Montrouge on Thursday, a day after the jihadist Kaouchi brothers with whom he was working killed 12 at the satirical magazine’s offices.

Jewish group names 4 dead hostages in kosher market attack

The four people killed in the terrorist attack on the kosher market in Paris yesterday are named by the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities. They are all Jewish men.

– Yohan Cohen, 22

– Yoav Hattab, 21, said to be the son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunis

– Phillipe Barham, in his 40s

– François-Michel Saada, in his 60s

“These French citizens were struck down in a cold-blooded manner and mercilessly because they were Jews,” reads the CRIF statement sent out on Saturday.

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.

– JTA contributed to this report.

Netanyahu opts not to attend French rally out of ‘security concerns’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opts not to attend the mass rally planned for tomorrow in Paris, in which numerous world leaders have said they would participate.

Channel 2 reports that Netanyahu made the decision not to go “out of security concerns.”

The prime minister is considering attending an event organized by the Jewish community later in the week, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office tell Ynet.

A profile of the most wanted woman in France

French media profiles Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, the wife-accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly who carried out the attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris yesterday. She is currently the most wanted woman in France.

Itele speaks to a neighbor of Boumeddiene and Coulibaly, who describes them as “not mean” and rather polite. The neighbor, identified by the first name Cyril, says the woman was completely covered from head to toe.

Hayat Boumedienne, 26, is wanted in connection with a terrorist attack on a kosher market January 9, 2015 in which her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, killed four people. (Photo screenshot: Itele)

Hayat Boumedienne, 26, is wanted in connection with a terrorist attack on a kosher market January 9, 2015 in which her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, killed four people. (Photo screenshot: Itele)

The network also publishes photos of Boumedienne, one with Coulibaly, and several of her brandishing weapons.

Boumedienne, according to the network, also did not leave much of an online footprint and information about her on the internet was hard to come by.

In this undated picture, Hayat Boumedienne, is seen holding what appears to be a crossbow. (Photo screenshot: Itele)

In this undated picture, Hayat Boumedienne, is seen holding what appears to be a crossbow. (Photo screenshot: Itele)

The photos contrast with the mugshot of her sent out by police in which her face is fully visible and she appears sleepy-eyed.

Hayat Boumddiene (photo credit: AP Photo/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

Hayat Boumddiene (photo credit: AP Photo/Prefecture de Police de Paris)

Security officials say Boumeddiene is likely armed, and is most probably planning to carry out another attack

Muslim employee of kosher market hid people in freezer

A Muslim employee of the kosher market in Paris, where Amedy Coulibaly killed four people and held others hostage, helped hide several people and baby in a freezer downstairs as the seven-hour siege began.

Lassana Bathily, 24, tells Metronews, that his knowledge of the store and a cool head helped him act quickly to lead a number of people downstairs and conceal them from the gunman.

It is not clear how many people hid in the freezer, with some reports saying six people and other saying over a dozen.

“I opened the door of the freezer and a number of people went inside, I turned off the lights and the freezer,” he tells the newspaper.

Bathily says he told the shoppers to stay calm, closed the door and managed to flee the store using an elevator. He was then able to tell security forces about the people hiding in the freezer.

Later, when the siege was over, he says people came over to congratulate and thank him.

Vigil for victims of kosher market attack to be held in front of store

A vigil in memory of the victims of the kosher shop attack is planned to take place tonight in front of the Hyper Cacher supermarket.

— JTA

European Jews demand more security

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the European Jewish Association orders its subsidiary organizations – led by 700 rabbis and institution directors — to increase security and demand from local authorities that armed guards be placed in front of their institutions.

“We share the French public’s sorrow and outrage and express our sincere condolences to the families of all of the victims,” says EJA director Menachem Margolin. “The European Jewish community has long and publicly warned all European governments that any forgiveness and understanding of any motives of terror against minorities will only increase terrorism and its devastating influence on the European fabric of life.”

In a statement, Margolin notes that on January 27, the world will mark International Holocaust Memorial Day. “We simply cannot make do by remembering. We have called upon all European governments and people that understand the darkness that is lurking over Europe, to come to their senses before it is too late.”

— Raphael Ahren

Tel Aviv to hold memorial for victims of French terror attacks

A memorial for the victims of a series of terror attacks in France, including the killing of four Jewish men at a kosher market in Paris, will be held tonight in central Tel Aviv at 7:45 pm local time, the Tel Aviv municipality announces.

Representatives from the French embassy in Israel and prominent members of the French community are expected to attend the commemoration at Mazeh 9 in the city.

The vigil will include a mass candle lighting, a spokesperson for the city says.

French policeman’s family decries viral spread of footage of murder

The family of a French Muslim police officer killed in the newspaper attack express anger at the viral spread of images of his death.

Ahmet Merabet’s partner described seeing the images on television in a restaurant without realizing it was him. Video taken by an onlooker that surfaced on the Internet shows what appears to be a wounded Merabet on the pavement raising a hand as though appealing for mercy before he was fatally shot in the head.

Ahmed Merabet, one of two policemen killed during the January 7, 2015, attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (photo credit: Twitter).

Ahmed Merabet, one of two policemen killed during the January 7, 2015, attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (photo credit: Twitter).

— AP

Liberman to represent Israel at Paris rally on Sunday

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will leave for Paris on Sunday to represent Israel at the rally in solidarity with the victims of the recent attacks in France. Heads of states from around the world are expected at the event.

Prime Minister Netanyahu had originally mulled to travel to Paris for the event but opted against out of security concerns.

— Raphael Ahren

Netanyahu to travel to Paris Tuesday for memorial event

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to travel to Paris on Tuesday, presumably to participate in a memorial event for the victims of Friday’s attack on the Hyper Cacher supermarket in northern France, says an official from the Foreign Ministry.

— Raphael Ahren

Wanted female accomplice of jihadist may be in Syria

Hayat Boumeddiene, the wife-accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly who killed four Jewish men and held others hostage at a kosher market yesterday, could be in Syria, a police source tells Le Figaro.

Contrary to reports she was in the store as the deadly siege took place,  Boumeddiene is believed to have taken a flight from Madrid to Istanbul on January 2. A police source tells Le Monde that a woman matching her description and using her passport was seen on the flight, accompanied by a man whose brother is known to French intelligence services.

She is believed to have crossed into Turkey on January 8, the same day Coulibaly killed a policewoman in Montrouge, and did not use her return flight dated for January 9.

Defense minister: Safest place for Jews is Israel

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says that Jews in Europe are under attack and that the safest place for them is in Israel.

“The Jewish community, not just in France, [also in] Belgium and other places, Sweden, is under an attack, a combined Islamist, anti-Semitic attack,” he tells Channel 2.

“We knew that if [radical] Islam raised it’s head in Europe, the Jews would be the first to be harmed. The safest place for Jews is in the national home of Jews,” he says.

Netanyahu to French Jews: ‘Israel is your home’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells French Jews this evening, after four Jewish men were killed in a kosher market yesterday and others held hostage, that Israel is their home.

“To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home,” he says in a televised statement, referring to the Jewish practice of facing Jerusalem during prayer.

Sixteen people have been killed in a spree of terrorist attacks by three jihadist gunmen since Wednesday in and around Paris.

— AFP contributed to this report 

FM: Terror wave expected to go on, Jews should move to Israel

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman says the current wave of terror in Europe is expected to continue and that the best security precaution for Jews is immigration to Israel.

“Israel is concerned about two issues: One, the terror attack on the Jewish market came after France already increased its terror alert. Two, this is the third terror attack [against Jews]: in Toulouse [in 2012], at the Jewish museum in Brussels [last May], and now at the kosher market on Friday,” he tells Channel 2.

“Europe has not yet internalized that the foreign fighters coming back [from the Middle East] to European soil or those who have connections to al Qaeda or Daesh [the Arab acronym for the Islamic State] are a real, serious threat,” he says.

It is estimated that almost 1,000 French nationals alone have left to join jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

“We have a lot of empathy and we identify with the problems [Europe is facing] but we want to demand that security be significantly upgraded at Jewish institutions. There is a lot of room for improvement,” he adds.

Liberman warns that the assessment held by “all security establishments, in Europe, the US and here [in Israel] is that this terror wave will continue. There is always a desire to carry out copycat attacks.”

“The best security precaution [for Jews] may be aliya [immigration] to Israel. I hope that French Jews will start immigrating to Israel in significant numbers,” he says.

More than 700,000 rally in France after Islamist attacks

More than 700,000 people took to the streets across France today in tribute to the 17 people killed in three days of violence by Islamist extremists, the French interior minister says.

From Nice and Marseilles in the south to Besancon in the east and Lille in the north, people poured onto the streets to express their solidarity following Wednesday’s attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead. The massacre was followed by the fatal shooting of a police officer on Thursday and the murder of four Jewish hostages during a siege at a kosher supermarket yesterday.

“700,000 people have marched” in cities around France, Bernard Cazeneuve tells reporters on the eve of a huge Paris rally planned for tomorrow due to be attended by a string of world leaders.

People march during a demonstration attended by an estimated 45.000 on the old harbour in Marseille, southern France on January 10, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)

People march during a demonstration attended by an estimated 45.000 on the old harbour in Marseille, southern France on January 10, 2015. (Photo credit: AFP/ ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT)

— AFP

Netanyahu to attend Paris rally after all

After Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman announced that he would travel to Paris Sunday to attend the rally in solidarity with the terror victims of the last days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently changed his mind and decided to attend the event after all.

According to unconfirmed reports, Netanyahu will fly to Paris Sunday morning to attend the rally, which will start 3:00 pm Paris time (4:00 pm local time).

Economy Minister and Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett reportedly plans to attend the event as well.

A string of world leaders are expected at the event.

List of leaders to attend Paris rally on Sunday

France will stage a mass rally in Paris on Sunday that is expected to draw more than a million people in tribute to 17 people killed in three days of Islamist attacks, including four Jewish men at a kosher supermarket on Friday.

The rally will be attended by French political leaders from both the left and right — including President Francois Hollande and his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

Leaders from around the world will also join the march in solidarity. Here is a partial list of world political figures who have confirmed their attendance:

Algeria — Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Austria — Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz

Belgium — Prime Minister Charles Michel

Britain — Prime Minister David Cameron

Canada — Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney

Germany — Chancellor Angela Merkel

Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jordan — King Abdullah II and Queen Rania

Russia — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Tunisia — Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa

Turkey — Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

United States — Attorney General Eric Holder

European Commission — President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Parliament — President Martin Schulz

European Union — President Donald Tusk

NATO — Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

— AFP

Jerusalem to hold unity rally for French terror victims

The city of Jerusalem will hold a rally on Sunday in support of France and its Jewish community, in the wake of a series of terror attacks that have claimed the lives of 16 people, including four Jewish men.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will host the event at city hall starting at 14:30 pm local time, the municipality announces.

Thousands attend vigil for Jewish victims of market terror attack

Thousands of people attend a vigil in front of the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris to honor the four Jewish men killed by a jihadist gunman during a terror attack on the grocery store yesterday.

Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, Phillippe Braham and Francois-Michel Saada were shot dead during an assault at the grocery store by French terrorist Amedy Coulimaly. The killer was coordinating with Cherif and Said Kouachi, the terrorist brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Wednesday, killing 12.

In a surprise appearance at the vigil, met with applause, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says “France without French Jews is no longer France. For a few years now, French Jews have been afraid.”

“Today, we are all Charlie, we are all policemen, we are all Jews of France,” he says.

250 at Tel Aviv vigil for Paris terror victims

More than 250 people gather in Tel Aviv for a memorial service honoring all of the victims of the terror attacks in France over the past week. Officials at the event call on French Jews to move to Israel as soon as possible.

“The situation is getting worse,” Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home), the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs, tells the crowd of mostly French Jews. “We need to strengthen the Jews of France, we are here to help them and give them any assistance they need, but we call on everyone there to move to Israel. There is no choice, the only safe place for Jews is here in Israel.”

The memorial service was organized at the last minute by the Tel Aviv Municipality, which partnered with the French Embassy and other French organizations. They had planned to hold the ceremony indoors in the municipality’s Young Adult Center, but the sheer number of people that showed up meant the ceremony was moved to the courtyard despite the rain. Another memorial is planned in Jerusalem on Sunday at 2:30 pm in Safra Square with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar.

French Jews light memorial candles at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on Saturday night honoring the victims of terror attacks in France over the past week. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

French Jews light memorial candles at a ceremony in Tel Aviv on Saturday night honoring the victims of terror attacks in France over the past week. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman/Times of Israel)

“I came because we are French Jews, and in Paris the Jewish community is very united,” says 23-year-old Alex Ohayon. “My cousin lives just ten meters from the supermarket [where Friday’s attack took place] and we feel very concerned about what is happening in France,” he says.

But Ohayon disagrees with the call for all French Jews to make aliya and move to Israel, and is currently just visiting in Israel with no plans to move here permanently. “The Diaspora is very important for the Jewish people,” he says. “I have many friends that don’t want to make aliyah, and also, throughout history we see that many times the Diaspora has saved the Jewish people.”

Ohayon’s friend David, who declines to give his last name, says many of his friends in France are active in forums that defend or promote Israel, which is an important thing to do in a place like France, he says.

Aurelia Azoulay, 23, is currently in the process of making aliya from France and expects to finish her paperwork in the next week. “When you see what’s going on with the French government, they don’t condemn this as a threat,” she says. “They don’t point out the anti-Semitism. In one week, we’ll be back to normal. We saw the same thing after the shooting in Toulouse [when three children and a rabbi were killed at a Jewish school in March 2012]. For two weeks, there was a lot of security at all of the schools. And then after two weeks, there was nothing. That’s the French mentality.”

Melanie Lidman’s full story here.

New Yorkers rally for Paris terror victims

Hundreds of people holding pens aloft in support of free expression have turned out in New York City in response to the deadly terror attack targeting a French satirical publication.

The demonstrators braved freezing temperatures in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park on Saturday as a woman danced under a sign that read “Je suis Charlie.”

“I am Charlie” has emerged as a rallying cry after two shooters killed 12 people Wednesday at the Paris headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Organizers said they were showing solidarity with the French after three days of violence that, all told, left 20 dead, including three gunmen.

The march came after hundreds of thousands rallied hours earlier in French cities from Toulouse in the south to Rennes in the west to honor the victims.

— AP

Supermarket terror victims likely to be buried in Jerusalem

Some or all of the four Jewish men killed Friday by an Islamist terrorist at a Paris supermarket are to be buried in Israel.

Arrangements for the funerals of the four — Yoav Hattab, 21, Philippe Braham, in his 40s, Yohan Cohen, 20, and Francois-Michel Saada, in his 60s — are being coordinated by the French Jewish CRIF umbrella group and the Israeli foreign ministry.

Indications are that the bodies will be flown to Israel early next week, for burial on the Mount of Olives on Monday or Tuesday, but this has not been confirmed.

One of the four died when trying to grab a weapon and thwart Amedy Coulibaly, who had threatened to kill a three-year-old hostage. Coulibaly shot him at close range in the head.

Family of terrorist in market attack condemns killings

The mother and sisters of slain jihadist Amedy Coulibaly condemned his attacks in France, offering their “sincere condolences” to the families of the victims, according to a statement sent to AFP on Saturday.

“We condemn these acts. We absolutely do not share these extreme ideas. We hope there will not be any confusion between these odious acts and the Muslim religion,” they write.

Coulibaly was killed by police on Friday after seizing a Jewish supermarket in Paris where he shot four hostages dead. A day earlier he killed a policewoman in Montrouge, south of the capital.

(AFP)

Mahmoud Abbas to attend Paris rally — source

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will attend a mass national rally in Paris on Sunday to pay tribute to the 17 victims of Islamist attacks there this week, including four people killed at a Jewish supermarket, a diplomatic source said.

Abbas will be joined by many world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the rally which is expected to draw more than a million people.

Earlier Saturday, Abbas called French president Francois Hollande to offer condolences over the attacks.

“‘At this solemn moment of tragedy our hearts and minds are with you in the face of terrorism that has no religion,” Abbas said according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency “The entire Palestinian people are pained by what has taken place.”

(AFP and Times of Israel staff)

French cops alerted amid report sleeper cells activated

CNN reports that French police are being told to erase their social media presence and carry weapons at all times following intelligence that a number of terror cells have been “activated.”

The American network, citing a police source who attended a briefing, says intelligence believes sleeper cells were activated in last 24 hours, in the wake of the series of attacks that have rocked the country and left 17 people dead.

The source said Amedy Coulibali, who killed four Jewish men at a kosher market in Paris Friday afternoon, after killing a French policewoman a day earlier, had made a series of phone calls about killing cops before the attack.

Obama won’t be at Paris rally

President Barack Obama will not join other world leaders at Sunday’s Paris march in tribute to the victims of this week’s Islamist attacks in France, a US official told AFP.

Ever since the bloody shooting that killed 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday — followed by separate attacks that left five more people dead — Obama has made repeated declarations in support of America’s “oldest ally.”

Barack Obama speaking to Francois Holland from aboard Air Force One on January 7, 2015. (photo credit: Pete Souza/White House)

Barack Obama speaking to Francois Holland from aboard Air Force One on January 7, 2015. (photo credit: Pete Souza/White House)

But he will not join other leaders including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all set to attend the march.

More than a million people were expected to go.

“I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” Obama said Friday, following three days of bloodshed.

Here’s an updated list of who will attend:

Albania — Prime Minister Edi Rama

Algeria — Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Austria — Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz

Belgium — Prime Minister Charles Michel

Benin — President Thomas Boni Yayi

Britain — Prime Minister David Cameron

Bulgaria — Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

Canada — Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney

Croatia — Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic

Czech — Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka

Denmark — Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Gabon — President Ali Bongo Ondimba

Georgia — Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili

Germany — Chancellor Angela Merkel

Greece — Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

Hungary — Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman

Italy — Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

Jordan — King Abdullah II and Queen Rania

Latvia — Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma

Mali — President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

Niger — President Mahamadou Issoufou

Palestinian Authority — President Mahmoud Abbas

Portugal — Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho

Romania — President Klaus Iohannis

Russia — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Spain — Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Switzerland — President Simonetta Sommaruga

The Netherlands — Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Tunisia — Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa

Turkey — Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

United Arab Emirates — Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan

Ukraine — President Petro Poroshenko

United States — Attorney General Eric Holder

European Commission — President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Parliament — President Martin Schulz

European Union — President Donald Tusk

NATO — Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

(AFP)

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