Two simultaneous hostage-takings in France today are linked, with suspected gunmen in each situation connected through an earlier attempt to break a convicted terrorist out of jail, Paris’ public prosecutor told ABC News.
Amedi Coulibaly, 32, a suspect in a Thursday fatal shooting of a police officer in Paris’ Monrouge area, is believed to be involved with a hostage standoff at a kosher grocery, police said. Coulibaly was convicted for his involvement in an attempt to help a convicted terrorist escape custody, while Cherif Kouachi — a suspected gunman in Wednesday’s massacre at a French satirical newspaper office — was released.
The man they were accused of trying to free from prison was Smain Ali Belkacem, one of those behind the 1995 attack on the Paris transport system that killed eight people and wounded 120, according to the Paris public prosecutor.
Officials have identified Kouachi and his brother Said Kouachi as suspects in the attack that killed 12 people. The suspected gunmen are holed up in a printing company in a town northeast of Paris, taking one male employee hostage, said Audrey Taupenas, a spokeswoman for Dammartin-en-Goele City Hall.