A Muslim shop worker has told how he saved “15 to 20” customers at a Jewish supermarket attacked by terrorist Amedy Coulibaly.
Lassana Bathily was out of the gunman’s view when he stormed the Hypercacher store in eastern Paris with guns blazing.
A number of shoppers fled down stairs at the back of the shop, where they ran into the 24-year-old assistant, who thought the group could hide in a cold storage room in the basement.
He has been credited with helping the hostages – including a father and his young son – to survive the siege, in which four were killed by Coulibaly.
He told France’s BFMTV: “I went to the freezer, I opened the door and a number of people came in with me.
“I turned off the light and the freezer. I told them to keep calm, to not make any noise.”
After managing to escape through a goods lift and an emergency exit, Mr Bathily was initially suspected of being a terrorist accomplice.
He said: “I ran out, I saw police officers who told me ‘Lie down! Hands on your head!'”
After explaining who he was, Mr Bathily was able to provide officers with useful information about the layout of the store and where customers had been hiding.
After police stormed the building and killed Coulibaly, some of the freed hostages thanked him and shook his hand, he said.
Explaining why he acted as he did, Mr Bathily said: “We are all brothers. It’s not a question of Jews, Christians or Muslims.
“We were all in the same boat, we had to help each other to get out of the crisis.”
Mr Bathily’s photo has been circulating on social media since his story emerged, with many users labelling him a “hero” or “the coolest man on the planet”.