Paris grocery hostage-taking: Young Muslim hailed a hero for hiding hostages

A young Muslim man has been hailed a hero for hiding hostages fleeing gunman Amedy Coulibaly after he stormed a Jewish supermarket.

Lassana Bathily, 24, originally from Mali in west Africa, reportedly shepherded terrified customers to safety in a walk-in chiller as the Islamist gunman took hold of the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, on Friday.

Coulibaly burst into the market where Mr Bathily works and opened fire, killing four people.

He took several shoppers hostage and threatened to kill them if police stormed the printing shop where brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who killed 12 people in an attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier in the week, were holed up in a village to the north.

Mr Bathily helped several customers to safety as the chaos unfolded.

"I went down to the freezer, I opened the door, there were several people who went in with me. I turned off the light and the freezer," Mr Bathily told French network BFMTV.

"I brought them inside and I told them to stay calm here, I'm going to go out. When they got out, they thanked me."

It is unclear exactly how many people Mr Bathily managed to hide inside the freezer in the store's basement.

City councillor Malik Yettou said that six people and a baby escaped the gunman by hiding there, while BFMTV put the number at about 15.

Meanwhile, another employee at the market escaped through an emergency exit and delivered the keys to the store to the police, according to L'Express.

Police raided the supermarket and the printing shop simultaneously, killing the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly.

Mr Bathily told BFMTV that he managed to get out of the store via the freight elevator.

When he encountered police, they seemed to initially mistake him for one of the terrorists.

"They told me 'get down on the ground, hands over your head'," he said.

"They cuffed me and held me for an hour and a half as if I was with them."

He said that he then helped police with his knowledge of the floor plan of the store.

The young man is being lauded as a hero on social media, and held up as a reminder of how wrong it is to demonise all Muslims in the wake of the attacks, according to a Huffington Post report.