Hollande pays emotional tribute to murdered cops.
President Francois Hollande vowed yesterday that France would never yield to terror in an emotional tribute to three police officers shot dead in an Islamist killing spree, as four Jews gunned down in the attack were buried in Israel.
The Marseillaise anthem rang out under grey skies as a grim-faced Hollande pinned the country’s highest decoration, the Legion d’honneur, onto coffins draped in the red, white and blue flag, surrounded by weeping families and uniformed colleagues.
“Our great and beautiful France will never break, will never yield, never bend” in the face of the Islamist threat that “is still there, inside and outside” the country, he said.
France has been shaken to its core by the bloodshed that began with a jihadist assault on the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday and ended in a bloody hostage drama at a Jewish supermarket two days later.
Seventeen people, including journalists, policemen, a black policewoman, Muslims and Jews died in the attacks.
The supermarket killer, Amedy Coulibaly, and the Charlie Hebdo gunmen, Said and Cherif Kouachi, were killed in quick succession in two police blitzes on Friday.
Refusing to be cowed by the attack that decimated its editorial team, Charlie Hebdo prepared a cover for its next edition today showing a weeping Prophet Mohammed holding a sign with the now-famous phrase “Je suis Charlie” under the banner “All is forgiven”.
It is the kind of goading content that has long drawn the ire of some Muslims because of the depiction of Mohammed, which many see as sacrilegious.
French Muslim groups urged their communities to stay calm and avoid emotive reactions to the new Charlie Hebdo cover, while respecting freedom of opinion.
In Israel, thousands gathered at a cemetery for the funeral of Yoav Hattab, 22, Philippe Braham, 45, Yohan Cohen, 23, and Francois-Michel Saada, 64, who were killed at the kosher supermarket.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told mourners that world leaders were “starting to understand that this terror committed by extremist Islam represents a clear and present threat to peace in the world in which we live”.
During their attack on the magazine, which also lampoons other religions, the gunmen proclaimed they were “avenging the prophet”.
Charlie Hebdo, which has become the symbol of freedom of expression in the wake of the bloodshed, was preparing a massive print run of three million copies, compared to its usual 60 000.
Two policemen, Franck Brinsolaro, 49, and Muslim officer Ahmed Merabet, 40, were killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
The third police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 26, originally from the French Caribbean island of Martinique, was gunned down by Coulibaly the next day when she arrived on the scene of a car accident he was involved in in the southern suburb of Montrouge. Many believe he was on his way to a Jewish school down the road.
– Fran Blandy