The names of the four hostages killed at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday have been released: Yoav Hattab, 21, Philippe Braham, in his 40s, Yohan Cohen, 22, and François-Michel Saada, reportedly in his 60s.
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The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions said in a statement: "These French citizens were struck down in a cold-blooded manner and mercilessly because they were Jews.”
According to reports, Hattab is the son of Betto Hattab, the rabbi of La Grand Synagogue in Tunis.
Phillipe Braham, a teacher in his 40s, was survived by a wife and three kids, according to the Daily Mail.
Yohan Cohen resided in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles. "He was a nice boy – I knew him and his friends by sight. This tragedy affects all of the city and the Jewish community," Francois Pupponi, deputy mayor of Sarcelles, told the Mail.
According to testimonies of people who survived the attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, the four people who were killed during the incident were shot in the early stages of the seven-hour standoff, which ended when police stormed the shop and killed the hostage taker — a 32-year-old man identified as Amedy Coulibaly.
French police believed he was an Islamist who was a member of the same cell as Cherif and Said Kouachi, who are believed to have gunned down 12 people Wednesday at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo weekly. They were killed in a separate takeover by French special forces north of Paris. The two brothers were holed up at a printing shop.
One of the survivors of the supermarket attack said that the gunman immediately killed two people when he stormed the store.
"We heard a bang and then saw the guy who had a bulletproof vest , two Kalashnikov rifles in hand, a knife and a gun," Marie, the survivor, said according to the French media outlet BFMTV.
Marie said that one of the customers attempted to grab Coulibaly's weapon, and was then shot in the head.
According to reports, 15 customers were saved when they hid in the store's basement freezer, prompted to do so by Lassana Bathily, a Muslim employee of the store.
Two of the Jewish hostages killed in the kosher supermarket attack in eastern Paris: Philippe Braham (L) and Francois-Michel Saada. AFP photos