France Marks Two Years Since Charlie Hebdo, Kosher Supermarket Attacks

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Members of the European Parliament and citizens hold a minute of silence in Brussels for victims of the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, Jan. 8, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Four shoppers killed in an attack at a Jewish supermarket in east Paris two years ago in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings were remembered by politicians and community leaders in a short ceremony on Thursday.

Gunmen Amedy Coulibaly, who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, took hostages at the Hyper Cacher store on January 9, 2015, two days after the shooting at the satirical newspaper.

The ceremony was led by politicians including the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and French Interior Minister, Bruno Le Roux, who laid a wreath in memory of the victims and sang the French national anthem.

"It's still important to remember, it's still important to salute the work done by the security forces who intervened, and it's still important to show the families, those who are still suffering that we haven't forgotten what happened, we haven't forgotten those who were left behind," Le Roux said afterwards.

Earlier in the day, wreaths were laid at the former offices of Charlie Hebdo and at the site where a policeman was shot by the attackers as they fled.

In all, 17 people died in the shootings in January 2015, which opened a bloody year in France, culminating in attacks on the Bataclan concert venue and a series of bars in the city.

"2017: at last, the end of the tunnel" reads the front cover of a special issue of Charlie Hebdo published on Wednesday, two years after Islamist gunmen opened fire during the newspaper's weekly editorial meeting, killing 12 people.

The front cover depicts a blond man looking down the barrel of a rifle on a red background. At the other end of the tunnel stands a bearded man, ready to shoot him.

The cartoon received mixed reactions from people on the streets of Paris, ranging from incomprehension to laughter.

The attack still weighs on French people's minds, lawyer Bernard Maitre explained.

"I can't recall seeing an entire editorial team of a newspaper being slaughtered in France. I don't even think the Gestapo did that. It weighs on you. It will be remembered for a long time," he said.

The attack at Charlie Hebdo on January 7 was the first of a series of mass shootings in France in 2015. In November a co-ordinated gun and bomb attack on a series of venues in and around Paris killed 130 people.

"Charlie Hebdo was the beginning but then it sadly went on. If it is the end of the tunnel, fine, but I am not that optimistic. I think this will go on for quite a long time, even a very long time," bank manager Pierre said.

In the aftermath of the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices, another Islamist militant murdered a policewoman and took hostages two days later at the HyperCacher supermarket in south-eastern Paris. He killed four before police shot him dead.

The escaped Charlie Hebdo gunmen were cornered at a printing plant north of Paris and shot by police on the same afternoon.

Two years on, France was preparing to remember its victims with ceremonies at each of the sites targeted by the militants.

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