Paris shootings: Muslim man hailed a 'hero' for hiding hostages in Jewish supermarket's walk-in refrigerator

Lassana Bathily, originally from Mali in west Africa, reportedly shepherded terrified customers to safety in a walk-in chiller

Heather Saul@heatheranne9
Saturday 10 January 2015 18:03
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages including a child (C) after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris
Members of the French police special forces evacuate the hostages including a child (C) after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris

A young Muslim man has been hailed a hero for hiding hostages fleeing gunman Amedy Coulibaly after he stormed a Jewish supermarket.

Lassana Bathily, originally from Mali in west Africa, reportedly shepherded terrified customers to safety in a walk-in chiller as the jihadist gunman took hold of the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, on Friday.

Coulibaly executed four of the 19 hostages before police entered the building and ended the assault, killing the gunman as he ran to the front door.

Lassana Bathily has been hailed a hero after his actions during the Hyper Cacher hostage siege

Mr Bathily has been praised for his quick-thinking actions since his role in helping customers. He told BFMTV: "When they ran down, I opened the door (from the freezer).

"There are several people who came to me. I turned off the light, I turned off the freezer.

"When I turned off the cold, I put them (hostages) in, I closed the door, I told them to stay calm."

Reports in France state Mr Bathily, 24, helped lead six people to safety.

Several people called for Mr Bathily to be recognised for his actions as details of the episode emerged.

One tweet from worldwithjan read: "A true hero of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery store yesterday."

Additional reporting by PA