The attack on a Jewish grocery store in Paris Friday, carried out by a man identifying himself as a part of the same “operation” as the terrorists who killed 12 in an attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdor, left four hostages dead — and details on those victims began to emerge Saturday, telling a tragic and heartbreaking story.
According to other, freed hostages who have spoken to the press, one of the victims attempted to confront Islamist gunman Amedy Coulibaly with his own Kalashnikov rifle — only to be shot in the head and killed by the terrorist.
Details of how the other three victims were killed have not fully emerged, but most reports say they were murdered in cold blood by Coulibaly before French police staged a massive raid on the Hyper Casher kosher grocery store, freeing the 15 remaining hostages and killing the heavily armed terrorist as he charged out of the store at the culmination of the seven-hour siege.
The four hostages reportedly shot dead by Coulibaly were all Jewish. They were named by the French Board of Jewish Deputies.
• Yoav Hattab (pictured above, upper left), 22, the son of prominent Tunisian Rabbi Betto Hattab.
• Yohan Cohen (lower left), 20, a clerk at the Hyper Casher grocery store.
• Philippe Braham (center), 45, a computer engineer and father of four.
• Francois-Michel Saada (right), 64, a pension fund manager and dad of two.
While full details of the horrifying events that transpired inside the Jewish grocery remain unclear, the story of how Cohen was killed are particularly heartbreaking.
“The police told the family the terrorist threatened to kill a three-year-old boy, and Yohan tried to stop it,” Yohan Cohen’s cousin, Yonatan said. “He managed to grab the terrorist’s weapon but before Yohan had a chance to shoot him, the terrorist put a bullet in his head and killed him on the spot.”
According to other media reports, Cohen grabbed the rifle after Coulibaly set it down. But Cohen did not realize that the terrorist abandoned the weapon because it had malfunctioned.
When Cohen pointed it at Coulibaly and pulled the trigger, the gun jammed. The killer immediately fired at Cohen, killing him.
All four Jewish victims, according to friends and family, practiced their religion observantly. Hattab had emigrated to France to study at a Jewish university, leaving six siblings behind in Tunisia.
Braham was described as a man who “always wore a kippah” (the traditional Jewish head-covering) and dreamed of “making aliyah,” that is, emigrating to Israel.
All four victims of the Paris Jewish grocery store terrorist attack will be buried in Israel.