Emmy nominee Dan Reed (“Terror at the Mall”) spotlights the courage and resilience of Parisian police and citizens in “Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks,” an unprecedented look at the January 2015 Al-Qaeda and ISIS Attacks in Paris. The documentary debuts September 19 on HBO.
On Jan. 7, 2015, two brothers belonging to Al-Qaeda in Yemen stormed the Paris offices of the satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 11 people and injuring 11 others before killing a French police officer. Amidst a massive manhunt for the killers, an additional five people were murdered and 11 wounded in related attacks over the next two days, including a harrowing standoff between police and a third gunman, claiming allegiance to ISIS, at a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes in Paris.
Drawing on exclusive access to hostages, survivors, police, paramilitary forces and intelligence findings and evidence, as well as never-before-seen footage and photographs, Emmy(R) nominee Dan Reed (HBO’s “Terror at the Mall”) spotlights the courage and resilience of Parisian police and citizens in THREE DAYS OF TERROR: THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKS. Debuting MONDAY, SEPT. 19 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT), on HBO, the searing documentary recounts a three-day ordeal that began with an attack by men acting in the name of Al-Qaeda in Yemen and ended with the first ISIS attack in Paris – a chilling precursor of other terrorist acts.
On the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, journalists at the satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo attended an editorial meeting at their nondescript office in central Paris. On the street below, two masked, heavily armed gunmen made their way into the building. A postal worker who encountered them told witness Fanghui Wang they were looking for Charlie Hebdo.
“It hit us like a bolt of lightning,” said Wang, who worked there. “They were here to kill.”
Chérif and Sad Kouachi were incensed over what they felt were blasphemous caricatures in the magazine, and their brief, brutal assault on the office ignited a 54-hour siege that terrified a city. As the shootings took place, scores of workers from a film company with offices on the same floor huddled on the rooftop, listening to the shots below. Following the carnage, an employee took rooftop video footage of the brothers shouting, “We have avenged the prophet Mohammed!” on the street after murdering a police officer.
The Kouachis initially eluded capture, switching escape vehicles and fleeing the city. Sighted several times, they remained a step ahead of the police. On Jan. 9, after sleeping in a field and robbing a gas station convenience store, they were finally tracked down at a print shop in Dammartin-en-Go�le, 19 miles outside Paris. As a single employee hid in the factory, police proceeded with caution, and a standoff ensued.
THREE DAYS OF TERROR also chronicles the attacks of lone gunman Amedy Coulibaly, who shot a civilian and a police officer in Paris Jan. 7 and 8 before taking a dozen people hostage at a kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes section of Paris on Jan. 9. In videos and recordings made before and during the rampage, Coulibaly tried to grab some of the credit for himself, saying, “They attacked Charlie Hebdo… while I took on the police. So there you go. We acted kind of together, kind of separately… to have more impact.”
As police were planning a siege of the Porte de Vincennes supermarket, the Kouachi brothers had been surrounded by police in Dammartin-en-Gole. Coulibaly made it clear that if the brothers died, he would murder all the hostages.
When word came that the Kouachis had indeed been killed, the SWAT team wasted no time storming the supermarket, where Coulibaly had already slain two civilian hostages. Police killed him outside the entrance before he could inflict more casualties, but the damage had been done. The final toll over the three days was 17 dead and 22 wounded.
Dan Reed’s previous HBO credits include “Terror in Mumbai,” “Terror at the Mall” and “Terror in Moscow.”
THREE DAYS OF TERROR: THE CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKS was produced and directed by Dan Reed; editor, Mark Towns; executive producer, Luc Hermann; executive producer for BBC, Sam Bagnall. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer Sheila Nevins.
Other HBO playdates: Sept. 22 (5:00 p.m., 3:15 a.m.), 25 (11:30 a.m.), 27 (8:40 a.m., 11:00 p.m.) and 30 (12:45 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Sept. 21 (12:55 p.m., 7:55 p.m.) and 29 (4:00 a.m.), and Oct. 13 (12:30 a.m.) and 16 (10:10 a.m.)
The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.