PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris kosher supermarket where four hostages were killed in January by an Islamist gunman reopened on Sunday morning to “show that life is stronger than barbarity,” supermarket officials and France’s interior minister said.
The Jan. 9 attack on the Jewish foodstore by Amedy Coulibaly, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and also killed a policewoman in a separate attack, had been coordinated with two other gunmen who killed 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo two days earlier.
“There we are, we are open again,” the new manager, Laurent Mimoun, told local media, wearing a black kippa and visibly moved in the supermarket, completely refurbished and bearing no trace of the deadly attack.
“We are thinking about all the victims, this has been the driver behind reopening the shop,” he said.
The shop reopened with an entirely new staff since those present at the time were still recovering from the attack on sick leave, according to shop managers.
“It is important to pay respect to the memory of those who fell under the fire of barbarity,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said as he attended the reopening, which took place under heavy police surveillance.
France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe, leaving people to fear heightened tensions after the attacks and authorities to insist all would be protected.
“This foodstore reopens bravely to show that life is stronger than everything,” Cazeneuve said, adding that French authorities would “do everything so that all French people can live freely.”
The attack prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to invite French Jews to emigrate, leaving French Prime Minister Manuel Valls scrambling to reassure the community it was safe and an integral part of France.
The Hyper Cacher group said in a statement released by local media that the reopening was a sign of the resilience of France’s Jewish community.
“With (this) we reaffirm that life will always be stronger than barbarity. We are more determined than ever to allow our clients to eat kosher,” the statement said.
Reporting by Lucien Libert; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Mark Heinrich