A suspect in an attack on a Jewish owned store in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles was shot and killed after he opened fire on the heavily armed police who had come to take him into custody. The deceased, identified as Jeremy Sidney, was sitting on his sofa when the officers arrived. According to a police spokesman, the man jumped to his feet and began shooting, despite the presence of his veiled wife and young child. Strasbourg Prosecutor, Patrick Poirret, said Sidney was “very determined with probably the ambition to die a martyr, and had emptied the chamber of his revolver at the police before being shot dead.”
Mr.Sidney, 33, was a French citizen with ties to radical Islamist Salifi organizations. His fingerprints were found on the remains of a hand grenade thrown into a Kosher grocery store in Sarcelles on September 19, 2012. One person was slightly injured in the incident and the store was extensively damaged.
Three police officers were injured during the exchange of gunfire. One officer was hit in the head and another was struck in the chest by rounds from Sidney’s .357 Magnum. The officers were protected by their helmets and bullet proof vests, limiting the severity of their injuries.
Anti-terror squads fanned out throughout France today, arresting 11 other suspects in the case. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the raids were intended to help police “dismantling terrorist networks. When it’s a matter of fighting terrorism all means are applied to leave nothing aside.” The suspects, born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, were described as “common criminals who set out on a path of radicalization toward Islamist jihadism.”
Prosecutor Poirret told reporters police recovered last wills and testaments from four of the suspects, including Jeremy Sidney. Poirret remarked, “When you have a will in your pocket, it means that you’ve outlined your last wishes and you foresee that extreme outcomes may take place in relatively short order.”
According to the Paris Prosecutor, Francois Molins: “Police also seized 27,000 euros in cash and Islamist literature in addition to the wills and a list of Jewish associations.” The government is concerned the suspects, and still unknown associates, may be planning more attacks on the Jewish organizations named in the list.
French police have been on high alert since the assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France on March 19, 2012 that left three young children and a Rabbi dead. The murders were part of a series of terror attacks by Mohammed Merah in which seven people were killed, and five others were injured, four seriously. Merah was a self described Jihadi who received weapon training and indoctrination in Afghanistan. He was killed by French commandos, while leaping from a window with guns blazing, on March 22, 2012.
The Jewish community in France is currently living under a state of siege. Community leaders documented 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the 10 days that followed Merah’s murders and there have been dozens of attacks on French Jews throughout the summer and early fall. Most Synagogues, Jewish schools, Jewish community centers and Jewish owned businesses receive full time protection from either the police or private security services. Religiously observant Jews report being afraid to even wear a Yarmulke (the traditional cap worn by Jewish men) in public and several Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated. Many French Jews have left the country permanently and one more serious incident may lead to a mass exodus for the Jewish population of France.