A man who hid 15 people in the freezer at the kosher market in Paris where he worked after a gunman took the shop hostage was being hailed as a hero, but he said his actions were "nothing, that's life."
Lassana Bathily was on the job on Friday when Amedy Coulibaly seized the store, demanding freedom for two brothers who killed 12 people at the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Bathily quickly led the group, which included a 2-year-old child, to the basement.
"I put them inside (the freezer), closed the door and told them: 'Stay calm, I will go out,'" Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim man from Mali, told The Associated Press. "I went up. I looked everywhere. I didn't see him (the hostage taker)."
Coulibaly, who purportedly expressed allegiance to terror group ISIS in a video, was shot dead by police when they stormed the grocery store. Police believe Coulibaly killed four hostages at the supermarket as well as a French policewoman in a separate attack on Thursday.
Bathily said the group congratulated him when they emerged safe from the incident.
"They told me, 'Thank you, really,'" he said. "I said, 'it's nothing, that's life.'"
France is on the highest level of alert following the three days of violence that left 17 people dead, along with three gunmen. Security has been stepped up since the first deadly assault on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.
On Sunday, more than a million people, including dozens of world leaders, marched in the streets of Paris to express their support for victims of last week's attacks and signal their disgust for the perpetrators. The attacks were the worst militant Islamist assault on a European city in nine years.
— Miranda Leitsinger and The Associated Press