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Paris kosher shop reopens after deadly hostage crisis

AFP I French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (centre) attends the reopening of the market on March 15.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Sunday attended the reopening of Hyper Cacher, the kosher shop in eastern Paris where gunman Amédy Coulibaly killed four hostages two days after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January.

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The shop has been repaired after suffering heavy damage during an assault by special forces to free staff members and shoppers whom Coulibaly had taken hostage.

"You can see the layout ... you see the difficulties there were in the intervention," Cazeneuve said.

Coulibaly stormed the supermarket near Porte de Vincennes on January 9, killing four people during an afternoon-long siege that ended when police launched an assault and gunned him down. The day before, Coulibaly had also shot and killed a trainee policewoman in the Paris suburb of Montrouge.

Coulibaly claimed to have coordinated his efforts with the Kouachi brothers, who had massacred twelve people at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo two days earlier.

French police investigations have suggested that Coulibaly may have had assistance in preparing the attack. On Friday, a Paris court filed preliminary charges against two men who supposedly had links to Coulibaly, bringing the number of suspects under investigation to six.

Finishing touches

The supermarket, which suffered massive damage in the attack, has been renovated from top to bottom.

Flowers and cards still surround the storefront. On Saturday, workers were busy accepting stock deliveries in time for Sunday’s reopening.

A dozen new staff members will take over the reins as previous employees, including Lassana Bathily, attempt to recover from the traumatic incident.

Company management said that staff on leave would probably be transferred to one of the store’s 10 Paris locations when they felt ready to return to work.

Locals were happy to hear the news.

“It's a victory that they are opening because it hasn’t been easy; it's been traumatic for everyone,” one shopper told FRANCE 24.

Still, despite the shiny new makeover, the shop hasn’t been able to wipe away traumatic memories the attack left behind.

“There's still some fear,” one resident told FRANCE 24. “I'll come back, but I've asked my family not to.”

In a show of support, another neighbor said he would be waiting when the shop opens its doors on Sunday morning.

“People will come out of principle and solidarity. We're French, we're not scared of anything, this is our home,” he told FRANCE 24.

(FRANCE 24)
 

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