Charlie Hebdo hunt: Bloody end to sieges

Two sieges in France have been brought to a bloody end, with three gunmen and four hostages killed.
Two brothers who killed 12 in an attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday were shot dead as they fled a warehouse north of Paris, firing at police.
Shortly afterwards in eastern Paris, anti-terrorist forces stormed a kosher supermarket where hostages were being held by a gunman with reported links to the brothers.The gunman and four hostages died.
French police believe the captives were killed before the assault on the Hypercasher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters late on Friday.
Four hostages were seriously injured and 15 were rescued unhurt. Two police officers were injured.
The operation was launched after the end of the siege in Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) north of Paris.
The two brothers there, Cherif and Said Kouachi, came out of the building firing at police and were killed. Two police officers were injured.
One hostage there had earlier been released and a second employee, who was hiding in the building’s cafeteria, was freed by police after the shooting ended.
French President Francois Hollande described the events as “a tragedy for the nation”.
In a televised address, he thanked the security forces for their “bravery [and] efficiency”, but added that France still faced threats. “We have to be vigilant. I also ask you to be united – it’s our best weapon,” he said.
“We must be implacable towards racism,” he added, saying that the supermarket attack was an “appalling anti-Semitic act”.
“Those who committed these acts, these fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim faith.”
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there had been a “clear failing” in French intelligence.
“If 17 people die, this means mistakes have been made,” he said, including those killed in attacks on Wednesday and Thursday in the toll.
Separately, a man who took two women hostage in a jewellery store in the southern city of Montpellier on Friday, surrendered to police early on Saturday. Police said his motive was not known but that there was no link to Islamist violence.
The actions of France’s highly trained GIGN counter-terrorist police brought a swift end to a crisis that began 53 hours earlier with the armed raid on the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo.
But a number of important questions remain. Was this attack planned and orchestrated from abroad and if so by whom? Is there any credence to claims made by the gunmen before they died that they were linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen and to Islamic State, two sometimes competing organisations? And what was the real target here, Charlie Hebdo or the entire French nation?
Questions are already being asked of French police and intelligence about how the two Kouachi brothers, well-known for their extremist views and already on US and European no-fly watchlists, were left free to acquire assault rifles and carry out the murderous raid on 7 January.
Beyond this, France has a deeper problem, coping with a growing number of violent jihadists who will see this week as only the beginning.- BBC News