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Hollande vows France will never yield as terror victims buried


Paris: President Francois Hollande today vowed 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, said Hollande.

The country 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 police woman, Muslims and Jews lost their lives 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 Wednesday 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 of mourners 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.

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