BREAKING NEWS: Charlie Hebdo suspects killed as siege ends
Police says operation against two brothers suspected to be behind magazine attack is over after gunfire heard on site.
French media reports that both brothers suspected to be involved in Wednesday’s attack on a satirical newspaper have been killed in a police operation at Dammartin-en-Goele.
The alleged attackers – brothers identified as 32-year-old Said Kouachi and 34-year-old Cherif Kouachi – had been cornered by police inside a printing house with a hostage in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris.
French security forces had earlier poured into the small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle international airport after the suspects hijacked a car early on Friday in a nearby town.
The two brothers had told police that they “want to die as martyrs,” quoting a local politician.
They were holding a man hostage, who reportedly survived the police raid.
Meanwhile, an armed man who had taken several people hostage at a kosher grocery store in Porte De Vincennes, and reportedly threatened to kill the hostages if police launched an assault on the Kouachi brothers, has also been killed in a police raid.
French President Francois Hollande had held a meeting with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Friday amid the police operations.
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport closed two runways to arrivals amid the police operation in Dammartin-en-Goele town close to the airport.
But an airport spokesman said the flight diversions are not affecting schedules.
The latest developments come as heavily armed anti-terrorism police swooped on residential areas of the town in an extensive manhunt for two brothers suspected of being behind killing at the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo .
Update Jan 9, 2015: Suspects holed up in French town…
A massive police operation is under way in northeast of Paris, as the search for two suspects behind the killing of 12 people at a French magazine earlier in the week intensified, local media and the interior ministry have confirmed.
Local media said witnesses reported on Friday a high-speed car chase and gunshots as police chased the suspects on a French highway outside Paris.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that an operation was under way to “neutralise” the suspects as the massive manhunt appeared to be reaching a dramatic climax with helicopters buzzing overhead.
Update Jan 8, 2015: The youngest of three French nationals being sought by police for a suspected militant attack that killed 12 people at a satirical magazine on Wednesday turned himself in to the police, an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The hooded attackers stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for lampooning religions, in the most deadly militant attack on French soil in decades.
French police were still in a huge manhunt for two of the attackers who escaped by car after shooting dead some of France’s top cartoonists as well as two police officers.
Police issued a document to forces across the region saying the men were being sought for murder in relation to the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The document, reviewed by a Reuters correspondent, named them as Said Kouachi, born in 1980, Cherif Kouachi, born in 1982, both from Paris, and Hamyd Mourad, born in 1996.
The police source said one of them had been identified by his identity card, which had been left in the getaway car.
An official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said the youngest of the three had turned himself in at a police station in Charleville-Mézières, some 230 kilometers northeast of Paris near the Belgium border.
BFM TV, citing unidentified sources, said the man had decided to go to the police after seeing his name in social media. It said other arrests had taken place in circles linked to the two brothers.
The police source said Cherif Kouachi had previously been tried on terrorism charges and served 18 months in prison.
He was charged with criminal association related to a terrorist enterprise in 2005. He had been part of a cell that enlisted French nationals from eastern Paris to go to Iraq to fight Americans in Iraq. He was arrested before leaving for Iraq to join militants.
Police published pictures of the two brothers Thursday morning calling for witnesses and describing the two men as “armed and dangerous.”
The police source said anti-terrorism police searching for the suspects and links to them had carried out searches in Reims, Strasbourg and Paris as part of the investigation.
A Reuters reporter in Reims saw anti-terrorism police secure a building before a forensics team entered an apartment there while dozens of residents looked on.
During the attack, one of the assailants was captured on video outside the building shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Greatest) as shots rang out. Another walked over to a police officer lying wounded on the street and shot him point-blank with an assault rifle before the two calmly climbed into a black car and drove off.
The third man was not seen in any of the footage and it was not clear if he was directly involved in the attack.
A police union official said there were fears of further attacks, and described the scene in the offices as carnage, with a further four wounded fighting for their lives.
Tens of thousands joined impromptu rallies across France in memory of the victims and to support freedom of expression.
The government declared the highest state of alert, tightening security at transport hubs, religious sites, media offices and department stores as the search for the assailants got under way.
Some Parisians expressed fears about the effect of the attack on community relations in France, which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population.
“This is bad for everyone – particularly for Muslims despite the fact that Islam is a fine religion. It risks making a bad situation worse,” Cecile Electon, an arts worker who described herself as an atheist, told Reuters at a vigil on Paris’s Place de la Republique attended by 35,000 people.
Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is well known for courting controversy with satirical attacks on political and religious leaders of all faiths and has published numerous sketches ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). The magazine has been repeatedly warned that it would pay for its ridicule.
The last tweet on its account mocked Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of the militant Islamic State, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria and called for “lone wolf” attacks on French soil.
There was no claim of responsibility. However, a witness quoted by 20 Minutes daily newspaper said one of the assailants cried out before getting into his car: “Tell the media that it is al Qaeda in Yemen!”
Supporters of ISIL and other jihadist groups hailed the attack on Internet sites. Governments throughout Europe have expressed fear that fighters returning from Iraq or Syria could launch attacks in their home countries.
“Today the French Republic as a whole was the target,” President Francois Hollande said in a prime-time evening television address. He declared a national day of mourning on Thursday.
An amateur video broadcast by French television stations shows two hooded men in black outside the building. One of them spots a wounded policeman lying on the ground, hurries over to him and shoots him dead at point-blank range with a rifle.
In another clip on television station iTELE, the men are heard shouting in French: “We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).”
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the assailants killed a man at the entrance of the building to force entry. They then headed to the second floor and opened fire on an editorial meeting attended by eight journalists, a policeman tasked with protecting the magazine’s editorial director and a guest.
“What we saw was a massacre. Many of the victims had been executed, most of them with wounds to the head and chest,” Patrick Hertgen, an emergencies services medic called out to treat the injured, told Reuters.
A Reuters reporter saw groups of armed policeman patrolling around department stores in the shopping district and there was an armed gendarme presence outside the Arc de Triomphe.
US President Barack Obama described the attack as cowardly and evil, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among European leaders condemning the shooting.
The dead included co-founder Jean “Cabu” Cabut and editor-in-chief Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier.
Dalil Boubakeur, head of the French Council of the Muslim faith (CFCM), condemned an “immensely barbaric act also against democracy and freedom of the press” and said its perpetrators could not claim to be true Muslims.
Rico, a friend of Cabut, who joined the Paris vigil, said his friend had paid for people misunderstanding his humour.
“These attacks are only going to get worse. It’s like a tsunami, it won’t stop and what’s happening today will probably feed the National Front,” he told Reuters without giving his family name.
The far-right National Front has won support on discontent over immigration to France. Some fear Wednesday’s attack could be used to feed anti-Islamic agitation.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen said it was too early to draw political conclusions but added: “The increased terror threat linked to religious fundamentalism is a simple fact.”
France last year reinforced its anti-terrorism laws and was on alert after calls from militants to attack its citizens and interests in reprisal for French military strikes in the Middle East and Africa.
The last major attack in Paris was in the mid-1990s when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) carried out a spate of attacks, including the bombing of a commuter train in 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.
Earlier News Jan 7, 2015
Deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo Magazine in Paris…
At least 12 people, including four cartoonists and two policemen, killed by three gunmen at Charlie Hebdo magazine.
PARIS —Security forces launched a massive manhunt Wednesday after masked gunmen opened fire inside the offices of a French satirical newspaper known for provocative content on Islam, killing the editor and at least 11 others before fleeing in waiting cars.
The attack, the country’s deadliest terrorist strike in decades, appeared highly planned to coincide with a staff meeting at the weekly Charlie Hebdo and left its well-known editor and other staff members among the dead.