The 21st Century Phenomenon


hebdoOn Wednesday 01/07/2015 at about 10:30 AM, ,two masked gunmen, later identified as the brothers Said & Cherif Kouachi arrived to the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly magazine at the time of the weekly editorial meeting at 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert They opened fire at people in the lobby before making their way to the newsroom on the second floor,  and committed a selective execution of the staff,  including the top editor, prominent cartoonists, employees and two policemen, one of them a muslim , who rushed to the scene. all together they shot down and killed 12 people.  The attackers shouted  ‘Allahu akbar!’ (god is great) while shooting and exchanging fire with the police. An amateur video of the assailants’ subsequent gunfight with the police showed the men shouting: “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!”.

 The Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly magazine had lampooned everyone and every situation including Jews Christians, French politicians  or, even the sex tourism to Thailand. Recently he Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon that laugh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the self proclaimed new Islamic Khalif (had of the Islamic Nation) and named himself Khalif Ibrahim the first.  The offices of Charlie Hebdo were already attacked by a Molotov cocktail in 2011 after it scorned the prophet Muhammad in another cartoon  and received several threats from Islamic fundamental  elements prior to the attack. France was already on the alert for Islamist militant attacks after several incidents just before Christmas.

 There was, therefore,  little doubt that the attack was carried out by radical Islamists. Two eyewitnesses who survived the attack  said the gunman  claimed to be from Al Qaeda. One of them specified Al Qaeda in Yemen, a group also known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

 The victims are: the cartoonists Jean Cabut, known as Cabu; Bernard Verlhac, who used the name Tignous; Georges Wolinski;  Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb, who was also the editorial director of Charlie Hebdo; Bernard Maris, known as “Uncle Bernard”;  Philippe Honoré who drew the last cartoon tweeted by the weekly publication; Michel Renaud, a former journalist who was visiting the Charlie Hebdo offices; Mustapha Ourrad, a copy-editor for Charlie Hebdo;  Elsa Cayat,  a columnist and analyst for Charlie Hebdo; Frederic Boisseau, a building maintenance worker;  Franck Brinsolaro, a policeman appointed to head security for Charb.  On the way out of the building, the attackers ran into a police car that was arriving at the scene and opened fire and killed Ahmed Merabet, a police officer and member of the 11th arrondissement brigade. A third policeman was seriously injured.

 The Charlie Hebdo offices are located about 200 meters North to the Isles of France and the Church of Notre Dame de Paris, an historical and main tourist site in Paris.

 The perpetrators then drove off in a black Citroën and headed North on the right bank of Paris. During their escape, prosecutors said, they crashed into another car and injured its female driver before robbing another motorist and driving off in that person’s vehicle. The police said that the black Citroën was found abandoned in the 19th Arrondissement. Said Kouachi‘s ID card was found in the abandoned getaway car, police sources said.

 Early Thursday, 01/08/2015, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor said that Hamyd Mourad had walked into a police station in Charleville-Mézières, about 260 k”m northeast of Paris, and surrendered. But, according to the information channel “I-Tele”, on Monday 01/12/2015, Hamyd Mourad  might have an alibi. after friends of Hamyd Murad stated that at the time of the terrorist attack he was at school,and he  turned himself in to the police to state that he was innocent.

 Almost the same time, at about 08:30 AM.  an assailant opened fire on a police officer on the southern edge of Paris early Thursday, killing Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, who was unarmed and directing traffic in Montrouge, in south Paris and injuring a nearby street sweeper before fleeing the scene. The police suspected the shooter to be Amedy Coulibaly, a convert to Islam and an associate of the main suspects – the brothers Said & Cherif Kouachi. Police , at the time, suspected that Amedy Coulibaly was with his girlfriend who recently radicalised in her Islamic devotion,  Hayat Boumeddiene.

 Later at 10:30 – The Kouachi brothers rob a a service station near Villers-Cotterets, in the Aisne region, 70 K’m Northeast of Paris, but disappear again.


On Friday 01/09/2019 at about 08:30 AM police exchanged gunfire with the Kouachi brothers during a car chase on the National 2 highway northeast of Paris not far from . Police, eventually, surround the brothers at an industrial building in at Dammartin-en-Goele, 35 km  Northeast from Paris and 10 k”m Northeast of the main French international airport of Paris –  Charles de-Gaulle,, where brothers Cherif & Said Kouachi ended up in a print shop in an industrial area. After establishing connection with the police surrounding the area, the gunmen told police that they wanted to die as martyrs,  Both were killed by police special forces at at about 17:00 as police stormed their location simultaneously with the  Paris kosher grocery .

 Earlier Amedy Coulibaly reappeared, at about 12:15  and took several people hostage at a Hyper-Kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Heavily-armed police arrive and surround the store. In negotiation with the police Amedy Coulibaly asked the immediate removal of the siege in Dammartin-en-Goele  on the Kouachi brothers, linking the two events together.  he also claimed



Amedy Coulibaly and 4  hostages, Yohan Cohen, Philippe Braham, Yoav Hattab and Francois-Michel Saada, all Jews. were killed and 15 survived in the exchange of fire between Amedy Coulibaly and police, when police stormed  the Paris kosher grocery store on Friday, 01/09/2015 at about 17:00. The whereabout and deeds of Hayat Boumeddiene, Amedy Coulibaly’s girlfriend is still unclear. It is assumed she left to Syria short before the attacks happened.   An unnamed source in the Turkish security forces told AFP that Hayat Boumeddiene arrived in Turkey on 01/02/2015, five days before the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo and a week before Coulibaly took hostages in the grocery store.,

 Amedy Coulibaly had during his hostage siege professed, in a phone interview, his affiliation with ISIS. The video which was recorded before the attack shows Coulibaly pledging loyalty to I.S.I.S and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Prosecutors said, on Sunday 01/11/2015,they suspect the gunman who stormed a kosher grocery store was also involved in the shooting of a jogger near Paris on Wednesday, the day of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo.

 Amedy Coulibaly “likely had an accomplice” who remains on the loose, said Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday 01/12/2015. He probably received help from someone else, said Mr Valls, pledging “the hunt will go on”, referring probably to the yet unidentified driver.

 About a week after the attacks Paris and French  institutions suffered from a large scale cyber attacks, generally unsuccessful, sought to be carried out by Jihadi islamists. It raised concern about cyber security and cyber warfare and the capacities of ISIS in general.

 Summery ;

 The Paris terror attacks targeted symbols of the French Republic, specifically the freedom of expression. In some aspects It reminds of The 9/11 attack on USA symbols.

 The second valuable target was the Jewish community in France that already suffers from increase in antisemitic incidents. It placed the Jewish community  in a very fragile situation about their future in France.

 The suspects belonged to the hard core of Islamic extremists in France for several years. They all were on the watch list of the French security services and under constant general surveillance. The attacks are also a failure of the security methods and apparatuses in the country. French security agencies had been monitoring Said Kouachi and his brother, Cherif, but stopped months before the two carried out the attack despite a previous tip-off from American intelligence agencies that one of them had likely trained with al Qaeda in Yemen,

 Furthermore, during the events French police implicated  Hamyd Mourad as the escape driver of the Charlie Hebdo while he was at high school 260 k”m away in Charleville-Mézières. Police also claimed that Amedy Coulibaly’s girlfriend Hayat Boumeddiene was with him in the Hyper-Kosher while she left France to Syria via Turkey 10 days earlier.  It is, therefore, obvious that the French  authorities were totally confused and the men hunt for the other accomplices should go on.

 Although all three assailants were killed by the police it is obvious, by their behavior and declarations that they did not expect to stay alive by any means and they sook to die as martyrs in the name of Allah. Unlike an ordinary suicide attack that is a very swift event they committed a  continuous suicide attack in order to maximize the effect of the events.

 Al Qaeda member in Yemen Sheikh Harith al-Nadhari, on Friday 01/09/2015, issued a recording on the group’s Twitter feed commenting on the ‘blessed raid on Paris.’ Another senior member, known as Sheikh Usama, provided a statement in English to The Associated Press saying “the leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully.” adding that it was “revenge for the honor” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, which the satirical Charlie Hebdo had occasionally lampooned.

 The attack increased the support for I.S.I.S in the Muslim world. A group of Taliban fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan  have pledged allegiance to .S.I.S by beheading a captured Pakistani soldier, the first such video to come out of the region.

 Four men are being detained in Paris, on Wednesday 01/14/2015, for chanting “death to cops, death to Charlie Hebdo” outside the kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes.

 There is a risk of a contest between the two major branches of Global Jihad: ISIS and Al Qaeda who will carry out more horrendous attacks in the Western Democracies.

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