The son of a chief Rabbi, a teacher, a pensioner and a shop worker saving for his marriage have been revealed as the kosher deli hostages killed by Jew-hating jihadist – one of whom was executed when he grabbed one of terrorist’s guns.
Yohan Cohen, 22, Yoav Hattab, 21 and Philippe Braham, in his forties, have been pictured 24 hours after the siege came to a climax as armed police raided the Jewish grocery in Paris.
Another hostage, François-Michel Saada, thought to be in his sixties, was also murdered in the attack by Islamic terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, French Jewish organisation Crif confirmed.
It has emerged that Mr Cohen, 22, from Sarcelles in the northern suburbs of Paris, had been working at Hyper Cacher for a year to pay for his future wedding to girlfriend Sharon Seb.
She posted on Facebook saying: ‘Je suis Yohan.’ And later, in an emotional tribute to her boyfriend, she wrote: ‘What am I going to do without you? How am I going to live without you? Why you?
‘My life is ruined without you. I will never achieve anything now. I need you in my life. We had so many plans.
‘I will never forget all our time together. You will remain the man of my life for eternity. I will remain faithful to you until my dying breath. I love you with an indescribable passion.’
Mr Cohen’s aunt, Aurelie Pluvinage, uploaded a hand-drawn sketch of her nephew to her own Facebook page.
The deputy mayor of Sarcelles, Francois Pupponi, said: ‘His family are devastated. He was a very nice boy.’
Philippe Braham was a teacher in his early 40s, who lived with his wife Valerie and their three children in a quiet town called L’Hay-les-Roses, approximately eight miles south of Paris.
A neighbour described him as ‘a good man’ and added: ‘He always said hello, he was always very polite. They are a very nice and quiet family. He didn’t speak a lot, but he was a good man.
‘This is very sad news. It is a sad day for the family and for everyone.’ It is believed Braham has another elder child from a previous relationship.
The dramatic account was revealed by a survivor who fled the shoot-out as armed police officers and soldiers raided the store yesterday.
Mickael B, as he wishes to be known, was held in the store with his three-year-old son when the fellow hostage suddenly grabbed the weapon which had been left on the counter and tried to fire it at terrorist Amedy Coulibaly.
But, after discovering the gun had been left there because it was malfunctioning, the extremist shot and killed the heroic hostage.
Giving a terrifying account, Mickael said: ‘I was heading for the check-out with the goods in my hand when I heard a bang – very loud. 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.
‘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.’
Mickael added: ‘He then demanded that I call the media, which I did. From then on the phone in the store never stopped ringing. It was mainly journalists. I told them now was not the time. My son started to cry he wanted to go home. He said the terrorist was a bad man.
‘I managed to get my phone out discreetly and got in touch with the police outside while the terrorist was roaming the aisles.
‘A policeman told me that we should be ready to throw ourselves flat on the ground when the assault came, which would be soon.
‘It was obvious that the terrorist was preparing to die. He said it was his reward. He had a weapon in each hand and boxes of cartridges nearby. He suddenly began to pray.
‘My mobile was still on. The police had heard it all. Minutes later the shop grille was lifted. We knew it was the start of the assault.
‘We flung ourselves to the ground. The noise was deafening. He was dead. It was over.’
Sarcelles, the Parisian suburb Mr Cohen lived in, was in mourning this evening, with the town’s deputy mayor Francois Pupponi saying his family were ‘devastated’.
Mr Pupponi added: ‘He was a nice boy – I knew him and his friends by sight. This tragedy affects all of the city and the Jewish community.’
The family are expected to receive the 22-year-old’s body tomorrow or Monday.
Meanwhile dramatic footage has emerged of the moment police stormed in to the Paris kosher supermarket last night before terrorist Amedy Coulibaly was shot dead.
Commandos launched flash grenades into the grocery and fired into the shop before a man believed to be the hostage taker was gunned down. Moments later, terrified captives could be seen running to safety.
It comes as it was revealed that the Isis fanatic had slaughtered four hostages before officers launched the raid.
Last night, chilling images emerged of bodies lying on the floor of the bullet-ridden shop after several shoppers were taken hostage inside the grocery store – including women and children. Further images emerged of Coulibaly’s bloodied body lying on a pavement after the siege had come to a dramatic end.
It has also been revealed there were 500 calls made between the phone belonging to Coulibaly’s wife Hayat Boumeddiene and a phone belonging to one of the wives of the Kouachi brothers.
Boumeddiene, France’s most wanted woman, is now in Syria after crossing the Turkish border earlier this month.
One Muslim Man Takes Heroic Action to Hide Jewish Customers From Terrorists:
A Muslim employee at the supermarket at the centre of the Paris terror attacks has been hailed as a hero for saving the lives of Jewish customers.
Lassana Bathily put his own life at risk to protect people from Islamic fanatic Amedy Coulibaly – by hiding them in a cold store in the basement of Hyper Cacher.
Bathily came up with his quick-thinking plan when the gunman burst through the front doors on Friday.
The 24-year-old shop assistant, who comes from Mali in West Africa, found six terrified customers a safe hiding place downstairs while the terrorist prowled the aisles above them.
‘When they ran down, I opened the door [to the cold store],’ Mr Bathily revealed yesterday.
‘There were several people who came to me.
‘I turned off the light, I turned off the freezer.
‘When I turned off the cold, I put them [hostages] in, I closed the door, and I told them to try to stay calm.’
The hostages had to spend three hours in the darkened room, with temperatures still below freezing, until armed police stormed the deli and Coulibaly went down in a hail of bullets.
When the hostages were eventually freed, they congratulated Mr Bathily.
There are now calls for him to receive an honour from the French state, after he was likened to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who helped about 1,200 Jews escape the Holocaust.
In a further show of unity between faiths in France yesterday, senior Muslims were cheered as they added flowers to a pile of floral tributes at the site of the Hyper Cacher massacre.
They were led by Hassen Chalghoumi, the imam of the city’s Drancy mosque, and they were accompanied by a local rabbi and a woman wearing a sash in the French national colours of red, white and blue.
Their gesture of solidarity as they arrived was met with cries of ‘Bravo’ from the watching crowd.
Mr Chalghoumi made a similar tribute on Thursday at the site of the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
On that occasion he described the terrorists responsible for the atrocity as ‘criminals’ and ‘barbarians’ who had nothing to do with Islam.
As the group left yesterday, the crowd, which included Jews, Muslims and Christians, began to chant ‘tous ensemble’, meaning ‘everyone together’.