Sorrows and pains in France and Israel in obituary scene
Paris ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – They came by the thousands — in France and in Israel — to cry, to honor and never to forget.
Mourners remembered those laid to rest Tuesday as beloved sons and daughters who became terrorist targets in three attacks last week in France. They died at the hands of three Islamist extremists who tried to use religion to justify their slaughter.
“He was killed by false Muslims,” said Malek Merabet, whose brother Ahmed — also a Muslim — was one of three French police officers killed in the attacks. “One must not confuse extremists with Muslims. Mad people have neither color nor religion.”
French authorities on Friday killed the three people directly behind this wave of terror. It began two days earlier with the massacre of 12 at the offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine; continued Thursday with police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe’s slaying in the Paris suburb of Montrouge; and climaxed the next day with a hostage siege at a kosher grocery store that killed four.
Since then, many around the globe have joined France in rallying against the Islamist terror threat. That spirit was in evidence Sunday in Paris when world leaders joined an estimated 1.5 million people marching in defiance of the killers and in solidarity with one another.
But if Sunday was a day for unity, Tuesday was a day to grieve.
That’s what happened in Jerusalem, where Israeli leaders joined thousands to remember the four victims of the eastern Paris grocery store siege and to support their loved ones as they were buried. The four men — Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab and François-Michel Saada — were shot dead Friday.
“I’m crying,” Braham’s wife told the mourners. “But I know that you all cry with me.”
At a ceremony 2,000 miles away in Paris, French President François Hollande posthumously gave the Legion d’Honneur to Merabet, Jean-Philippe and Franck Brinsolaro, laying medals on the coffins of all three slain police officers.
“They shared one desire: that of protecting their citizens,” Hollande said. “They had one ideal: that of serving the republic. They died in accomplishing their mission with courage, with bravery, with dignity.
“They died as police officers.”
Slain police officers honored
At Tuesday’s ceremony, Hollande spoke about the three officers individually as well as their shared profession and values.
Brinsolaro was a protection officer for Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, who was also killed Wednesday.
“He had become one of those policemen especially trained to ensure the safety, the security of people who are particularly vulnerable,” Hollande said.
And Jean-Philippe was responding to a traffic accident when she was killed by a gunman suspected in last week’s terror attacks.
“She was cowardly shot in the back,” Hollande said. “How can one justify that one can kill so cowardly a young woman of 26 years of age, with all the future before her devoted to others?”
Hollande spoke of the “wonderful future” Merabet had ahead of him before his horrific death, which was caught on video — with a gunman walking right up to him as he lay sprawled on the ground, then opening fire.
Merabet was laid to rest at the Bobigny Islamic cemetery in a Paris suburb after a brief ceremony. Mourners applauded other police officers on hand and watched as Merabet’s coffin — draped in a French flag — was carried to the grave site.
One woman, who gave her first name of Yamina, recalled Merabet as a kind man whom she was lucky to know. She broke off the interview after getting too emotional.
The mourning didn’t stop with these funerals. People continue to leave flowers and messages at a makeshift memorial in Paris, including law enforcement officers from New York, Washington and Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Al Qaeda issues new threat
Muslims worldwide have condemned last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere in France.
But al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the terror group’s North Africa branch, issued a warning on jihadist websites threatening new attacks on France.
The group has battled French forces before in Africa. Many former French colonies are in that area, with Paris often coming to their support to fight against Islamist militants.
“France pays the cost of its violence on Muslim countries and the violation of their sanctity,” the terror group said in a statement.
“As long as its soldiers occupy countries such as Mali and Central Africa and bombard our people in Syria and Iraq, and as long as its lame media continues to undermine our Prophet (Mohammed), France will expose itself to the worst and more.”
France’s National Assembly is set to vote later Tuesday on whether to authorize further support for the international coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq.
But before doing so, assembly members stood tall together, proudly singing France’s national anthem, “La Marseillaise.”
Among its lyrics, these timely words: “Liberty, cherished liberty, fight alongside your defenders.”
French citizen arrested in Bulgaria
That fight will continue in war zones and in courtrooms, and not just in France.
And it will probably include learning more about Fritz-Joly Joachin, a French citizen arrested in Bulgaria at its border with Turkey for allegedly kidnapping his son, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Betina Joteva said. The ministry noted that Joachin will remain in custody until at least January 20, when a “court will consider (a) second warrant related to terrorism charges.”
The latter warrant related to authorities’ allegation that Joachin, 29, had contact with Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers behind the Charlie Hebdo attack, the AFP news agency reported, citing Bulgarian prosecutor Darina Slavova.
“The charges are for participation in an organized crime group whose aim was … terrorist acts,” Slavova said.For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org