Paris Islamist Terrorist Threat Remains …

On Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 9, the Hyper Cacher supermarket at Paris’s Porte de Vincennes reopened. (As you will recall the shop was closed unexpectedly on the afternoon of Friday, January 9, customers still doing last-minute purchases before the start of the Shabbat when jihadist Amedy Coulibaly walked in and opened fire killing four […]

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On Sunday, March 15, 2015, at 9, the Hyper Cacher supermarket at Paris’s Porte de Vincennes reopened.

(As you will recall the shop was closed unexpectedly on the afternoon of Friday, January 9, customers still doing last-minute purchases before the start of the Shabbat when jihadist Amedy Coulibaly walked in and opened fire killing four people. Coulibaly’s barbarism, as you will also recall, was linked to that of the two jihadist brothers Kouachi who had two days previously shot to death 11 members of the editorial staff of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a policeman.)

France’s Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, was at the opening of the kosher supermarket and so were very many Parisians, not all having gone to shop but to show those like the Kouachis and Coulibaly that France is not scared of them. And – that France will show no mercy towards them: France will do to them exactly as France did to the Kouachis and Coulibaly – shoot them dead on the spot.

However, if you are planning a visit to France, especially to Paris, you may be asking yourself whether you will not be taking a risk coming here. Understandably so, because the mere fact that the country is being threatened by islamists may put you off.

So I will say that on Wednesday, March 11, President Hollande announced that France’s vigipirate security measures will remain in place, even keeping Paris and the Paris region (Île-de-France) and the Alpes-Maritimes region (Mediterranean coast) at its highest level of alerte attentats – alert attack.

“The menace of an attack against our country remains high,” a communiqué from President Hollande’s office read.

France’s Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, added that the terrorist threat situation will be reassessed on July 1.

Two days later on Friday, July 3, France’s schools will close for the 2-month summer vacation and so too Europe’s schools, which means that Paris will be overrun with tourists, all no doubt having Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher on their minds.

Vigipirate means that the 10,000 soldiers who in January after the slaughtering of innocents were assigned to protect France’s ‘vulnerable’ sites will remain on duty. Of these 7,000 protect – stand guard outside and inside – 604 sites of a religious nature: synagogues, mosques, schools and especially Jewish schools, museums, memorials, halls, clubs, shops and embassies and consulates. The remaining 3000 soldiers protect railroad and Métro (underground suburban rail) stations, stores like Galaries Lafayette and Printemps, streets like Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Avenue de l’Opéra, and tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. In all 78 sites in Paris where a tourist would go are under protection.

The soldiers are heavily-armed, and they walk in threes, fours or fives, but never will you see just one on his or her own: yes, women soldiers are among them.

Meanwhile, the police are continuing to delve into the lives of the two Kouachi brothers and that of Coulibaly. They accordingly took in five of Coulibaly’s friends – one, a woman in the gendarmerie (militarized police) – and have now charged two of them with ‘having participated in a terrorist group with intent to commit a crime’. The gendarme was released.

The two who have been charged have been identified as Amar R. and Said M. and they are now incarcerated and face life imprisonment as their actions have killed 17 people: Charlie Hebdo’s 11 victims and the policeman, Hyper Cacher’s four victims, and a municipal police woman attending a traffic accident shot down by Coulibaly on the day before that Thursday of January 8 when he burst into the supermarket.

According to the police Amar R. exchanged more than 600 text messages with Coulibaly between September 2014 and the January 9 attack on the supermarket after which he had destroyed his cell (mobile) phone’s microchip. Said M. had also destroyed the microchip of his cell (mobile) phone on that day. Furthermore, Said M.’s DNA was found on a stun gun Coulibaly had with him in the supermarket.

Charlie Hebdo has resumed publication, and now Hyper Cacher has reopened.

As Hyper Cacher’s management said before the opening they have decided not to close down the supermarket to prove that France is the home of French Jews, and to show that “life will always be stronger than barbarism.”

Back on Sunday, January 11, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the march of solidarity in Paris he had urged French Jews to move to Israel and this had angered the French government. P.M. Netanyahu has since said so again but he included all the World’s Jews.

The Porte de Vincennes Hyper Cacher is one of a chain of kosher supermarkets in France and Italy. I am not going to reveal where these stores are but I will say that the first of them was opened in March 1992 in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. Oddly the company’s owner had sold the business the day before Coulibaly’s attack. As has been reported his wife and two daughters relocated to New York in April last year and he is to join them there.

The Porte de Vincennes’s supermarket has been completely renovated and where its façade had been black before it is now white. On Sunday there still was no name outside, but the management explain that the name board is on order and will be put up as soon as it has been delivered.

The staff too is new as the staff of that January day of the attack are all still traumatized and will remain on a long sick-leave, and the manager has done as P.M. Netanyahu had urged: he has left for Israel.

The new manager, Laurent Mimoun, wearing a black kippa and visibly moved, said on Sunday: “Here we are, and we are open. We are thinking of all the victims and this has motivated us to reopen the shop.”

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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