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This Muslim Man Saved Several Hostages During The Paris Kosher Market Siege

Lassana Bathily is being hailed as a hero.

Last updated on January 13, 2015, at 10:50 a.m. ET

Posted on January 10, 2015, at 10:23 a.m. ET

Four people were killed Friday when the terrorist Amedy Coulibaly took several hostages inside a Kosher market in Paris, but that number may well have been higher were it not for a quick-thinking employee of the market named Lassana Bathily.

RTL / Via rtl.be

Lassana Bathily.

Bathily, a 24-year-old Muslim from Mali, was working in the store in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood when the Islamist gunman burst in.

As panic ensued, several customers in the shop hurried down to the store basement, when Bathily had an idea.

"When they ran down, I opened the door [to the freezer]," he told France's BFMTV.

He quickly shut off the freezer and switched off its light. As he closed the door to shelter the customers inside, he told them, "Stay calm here. I'm going out."

Eventually police raided the market, killing Coulibaly. As the hostages were freed from the freezer, they had a few words of thanks for Bathily. "They congratulated me," he told BFMTV.

"Yes, I aided Jews," he told the network during a subsequent interview. "We're brothers. It's not a question of Jews, Christians, or Muslims. We're all in the same boat. We need to help each other to get out of this crisis."

On social media, Bathily was being praised as a hero for his actions.

A true hero of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery store yesterday, 24-year old Lassana Bathily managed to... http://t.co/dWFecZkJi2

#worldwithjan@worldwithjanFollow

A true hero of the hostage crisis in the kosher grocery store yesterday, 24-year old Lassana Bathily managed to... http://t.co/dWFecZkJi2

9:13 AM - 10 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Meet Lassana Bathily, another Muslim hero in the ongoing French tragedy: http://t.co/td6a44Dyy2 #JeSuisAhmed

Brian Gluckman@bgluckmanFollow

Meet Lassana Bathily, another Muslim hero in the ongoing French tragedy: http://t.co/td6a44Dyy2 #JeSuisAhmed

8:48 AM - 10 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

Respect à Lassana Bathily, gros respect.

Alvs@Jo95zeyFollow

Respect à Lassana Bathily, gros respect.

8:00 AM - 10 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

One tweet described the young Muslim man as a "Mensch," the Yiddish word for a person of integrity and honor.

Lassana Bathily, un Mensch #Vincennes... http://t.co/90dpF3CkMD

Jewpop@jewpopblogFollow

Lassana Bathily, un Mensch #Vincennes... http://t.co/90dpF3CkMD

8:38 AM - 10 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

150,000 people have signed an online petition to grant the Malian man French citizenship and the prestigious Legion of Honor award.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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