A different and less tragic outcome of the Paris hostage situations on Jan. 9 could have been achieved — Jewish lives could have been saved. Once Amedy Coulibaly announced from the kosher supermarket [his intention] to kill hostages if the police captured the Kouachis, the two situations became inextricably linked. Greater strategic thinking by law enforcement of how to resolve the dual crises should have then taken place.
The Kouachi brothers and their single hostage were cornered in the printing plant. There was no possible way they could have escaped alive. They, possibly, could have been captured by a less lethal attack. In any event, Coulibaly was holding five or six hostages. More innocent lives were on the line at the market.
If the objective had been to save as many as possible — in addition to capturing the terrorists — the first raid should have been against Mr. Coulibaly, not the Kouachi brothers. Doing so would have given the supermarket hostages a greater chance of survival in the presence of a madman who linked his fate, and theirs, to that of the Kouachis.
Old Westbury, L.I.