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Paris attacks: Charlie Hebdo journalist says gunman spared her because she was a woman

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The terrorists told her to convert to Islam and to read the Koran

The terrorists told her to convert to Islam and to read the Koran

The terrorists told her to convert to Islam and to read the Koran

A journalist has revealed how gunmen who killed 12 people at the offices of a French satirical newspaper spared her because she was a woman – but told her to convert to Islam.

Sigolène Vinson, a freelance journalist who was working in the Charlie Hebdo offices on the day of the attack, told Radio France Internationale that a gunman screamed at his partner “We don’t shoot women, we don’t shoot women”.

Latest Pictures: Charlie Hebdo hostage crisis Close

An explosion at Dammartin-en-Goële as French special forces move in on brothers Said (34), and Cherif Kouachi (32)

An explosion at Dammartin-en-Goële as French special forces move in on brothers Said (34), and Cherif Kouachi (32)

The scene outside the Paris grocery store as French special forces prepared to move on the hostage takers

The scene outside the Paris grocery store as French special forces prepared to move on the hostage takers

The scene as French special forces stormed the Paris grocery store where a number of hostages were being held

The scene as French special forces stormed the Paris grocery store where a number of hostages were being held

Hostages flee from the Paris grocery store after French special forces moved to end the siege

Hostages flee from the Paris grocery store after French special forces moved to end the siege

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter  in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Création Tendance Découverte, a printing business in Dammartin-en-Goële where the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects are holed up

Création Tendance Découverte, a printing business in Dammartin-en-Goële where the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects are holed up

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter  in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter  in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Armed securtiy forces fly overhead in a military helicopter in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

Police vans are lined up in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Police vans are lined up in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

REUTERS

A member of the security forces walks inside Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A member of the security forces walks inside Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

AP

A French Army helicopter with intervention forces hovers near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

A French Army helicopter with intervention forces hovers near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

Gendarmes block the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Gendarmes block the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

AP

Police and army forces take positions in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Police and army forces take positions in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

Ambulances arrive in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Ambulances arrive in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast Paris, as part of an operation to seize two heavily armed suspects. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

French gendarmes secure the roundabout near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

REUTERS

Helicopters with French intervention forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

Helicopters with French intervention forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

REUTERS

Police officers control the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Police officers control the access to Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Journalists work near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Journalists work near the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Eric Gaillard

REUTERS

A gendarme van is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

A gendarme van is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

Police officers investigate a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Police officers investigate a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

A gendarme car is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015,  a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

A gendarme car is parked in a gas station in Villers Cotteret, 80 kilometers northeast of Paris, where the suspects were reportedly spotted, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, a day after masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper and killed 12 people. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

AP

A member of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris. Photo: Reuters

A member of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Members of the French gendarmerie intervention forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

A helicopter with members of the French intervention gendarme forces hover above the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. Reuters/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

An helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Friday Jan. 9, 2015.   French security forces swarmed a small industrial town northeast of Paris on Friday in an operation to capture a pair of heavily armed suspects in the deadly storming of a satirical newspaper. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

An helicopter flies over Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, Friday Jan. 9, 2015. French security forces swarmed a small industrial town northeast of Paris on Friday in an operation to capture a pair of heavily armed suspects in the deadly storming of a satirical newspaper. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

AP

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. The two main suspects in the weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killings were sighted on Friday in the northern French town of Dammartin-en-Goele where at least one person had been taken hostage, a police source said. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris January 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

REUTERS

Said (left) and Cherif Kouachi, the Parisian brothers of Algerian descent who are suspected of carrying out the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, in which 12 people were murdered. Photos: PAtwo

Said (left) and Cherif Kouachi, the Parisian brothers of Algerian descent who are suspected of carrying out the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, in which 12 people were murdered. Photos: PAtwo

French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve (centre) surrounded by National Police Director Jean-Marc Falcone (right) and National Gendarmerie Director Denis Favier delivers a speech as he leaves after a meeting the Elysee Palace in Paris. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve (centre) surrounded by National Police Director Jean-Marc Falcone (right) and National Gendarmerie Director Denis Favier delivers a speech as he leaves after a meeting the Elysee Palace in Paris. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

REUTERS

As a tribute for the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack the lights of the Eiffel Tower were turned off for five minutes at 8pm local time

As a tribute for the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack the lights of the Eiffel Tower were turned off for five minutes at 8pm local time

Getty Images

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An explosion at Dammartin-en-Goële as French special forces move in on brothers Said (34), and Cherif Kouachi (32)

 

She described how one of the attackers pulled her out of her hiding place behind an office wall and pointed his assault rifle at her head as if to shoot her, before changing his mind.

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Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris

Members of the French intervention gendarme forces arrive at the scene of a hostage taking at an industrial zone in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris

“Don’t be afraid, calm down,” she says he told her. “I won’t kill you. You are a woman – but think about what you are doing. It’s not right.”

He added: “I will not kill you because you are a woman and you cannot kill women but you have to convert to Islam and read the Koran.”

Northern France was today on high alert today amid reports of further shootings and hostage taking in the capital Paris and an outlying towns.

French news agency AFP says the hostage taker in the Kosher supermarket knew at least one of the two men alleged to have carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Yesterday a man with an assault rifle shot a police officer in a southern suburb of Paris.

AFP says police have confirmed the shooting was linked to Wednesday’s assault on the newspaper’s offices.

Independent.co.uk

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