Europe

France sieges end: Witness accounts

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIn Porte de Vincennes residents of a "working melting pot" saw an armed siege reach a dramatic end in their area

Witnesses have been describing the dramatic events in France, where two sieges came to a violent end.

The first incident, in Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, involved the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who carried out the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday.

The second was at the Hypercasher supermarket, near Porte de Vincennes, in Paris, where gunman Amedy Coulibaly had taken hostages.


Dammartin-en-Goele siege

Didier, who met one of the gunmen:

"When I arrived at the printers office, my client came out accompanied by an armed person who had introduced himself as a policeman.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Armed police surrounded the printing press in Dammartin

"The person who pretended to be a policeman told me: 'Go away as we do not kill civilians', that struck me profoundly, then I decided to call the police.

"I guess it was one of the terrorists. It could have been a policeman if he hadn't told me 'we don't kill civilians'.

"They were heavily armed like elite police. I didn't know it was a hostage situation, or robbery. I just knew something wasn't right."


Lilian Lepere, hid in box and sent text messages to father:

"I am hidden on the first floor. I think they have killed everyone. Tell the police to intervene."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe father of Lilian Lepere, who reportedly hid from the Kouachi brothers: ''We are doing fine''

Michel Catalano, manager of printworks company, held hostage for two hours:

"I remained calm throughout with one thing on my mind - saving Lilian.

"We are ordinary people who survived something extraordinary. Now we have to rebuild our lives."


Miriam Jeunet, Dammartin resident, speaking during siege:

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMiriam Jeunet, resident: "We are really scared... we have to wait in the high school"

"We are really scared... we have to wait in the high school."

"In the school there are about 900 persons, and they [told] us to stay in the school. We are really scared."


Worker's mother, Dammartin:

"My daughter told me: 'Don't be scared mummy, we're well protected'. She was calm but me, I was scared."


Porte de Vincennes siege, Paris

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAlexis witnessed the supermarket siege ending: ''I saw a hostage leave, the police firing''

Jacob Katorza, whose nephew hid in shop freezer:

"My nephew Johan and the others were terrified that they would be discovered by the terrorists and were forced to huddle together like frightened animals to avoid hypothermia.

"He was shopping for the kosher cakes and meat delicacies which we Jewish people enjoy on the Holy Day when he heard shots being fired above on the ground floor and immediately took cover with other shoppers in the basement.

"Johan was to speak to my brother Haim by phone for only two or three minutes and told him to stay quiet and wait until help arrived. Then we just stood at the barriers for five hours and waited for news.

"It was absolutely terrible - the longest five hours of my life.

"We know these people are monsters and would not hesitate to kill Jewish people.

"They targeted the supermarket because it was run by Jews."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Like in Dammartin, police quickly surrounded the hostage-taker

Hostage's mother:

"My daughter, she's in the supermarket. She's with her Jewish boyfriend. They went shopping. She called me 10 minutes ago. She said mum - there's dead people."

Image copyright AP Photo/BFMTV
Image caption The siege ended with the death of the gunman

Golda, shopper:

"I saw a lot of police. I didn't panic, I thought they were there to protect the shop, and I heard something that sounded like an explosion.

"Actually it turned out to be gunshots - a burst of gunfire. I couldn't tell you if it was a Kalashnikov or another weapon...

"There are about 50 police that I can see but there are probably more. They are in small groups of five and 10. All the roads are blocked - there is no one in the streets any more.

"There is a big Jewish community in the area - this area is actually in the middle of three Jewish communities.

"Do I feel threatened? Yes. For the Jewish community, once again we are being attacked."


Jerome, Jewish shopkeeper:

Police closed many shops, including his own, "because they are afraid that there may be another terrorist on the street".