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French police surround Paris suspects
9 January 2015
Last updated at 11:20
Police helicopters are hovering over the town, where it’s reported at least one hostage is being held, as the BBC’s Chris Morris reports
French police have surrounded a building in a northern town where two men suspected of the Charlie Hebdo massacre are said to have a hostage.
On the third day of a manhunt, shots were fired and there are reports of injuries in Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) from Paris.
The suspected Islamists are reported to have said they are prepared to die.
Twelve people were shot dead and 11 injured in the attack on the satirical magazine in the centre of Paris.
The suspects, two brothers who intelligence officials have linked to militant groups, shouted Islamist slogans during the shooting and then fled Paris in a hijacked car, heading north.
It appears that on Friday they hijacked another car in the town of Montagny-Sainte-Felicite before travelling on to Dammartin.
The car’s owner recognised them as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, the key suspects.
In a televised statement Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed the men being sought on Friday were those wanted for the Charlie Hebdo attack.
“An operation is under way which is set to neutralise the perpetrators of the cowardly attack carried
At the scene: Piers Scholfield, BBC News, Dammartin-en-Goele
It’s a dramatic scene. The area around the small town of Dammartin is rapidly filling up with thousands of French police and anti-terror forces.
Several Puma helicopters are hovering over the area. Hundreds of police cars and armoured vehicles have arrived. Press were rapidly moved on from the area amid warnings of danger to onlookers.
Huge convoys of police line the main N2 highway.
There are now reports of flights being cancelled at nearby Charles de Gaulle airport.
A massive police operation is under way in Dammartin-en-Goele
The suspects are holed up on an industrial estate
Roads into the town have been sealed off by police
The suspects are said to be holed up in a small printing business named CTD, a source close to the investigation told AFP news agency.
In Dammartin, witnesses say police are protecting people in buildings close by.
Officers from the elite GIGN unit have told people working nearby to stay inside and turn lights off while the operation is going on.
People in the area say police helicopters began arriving around 08:45 (07:45 GMT) followed by convoys of armed officers.
Some of those in premises in the industrial area where the suspects are cornered have been evacuated.
Police and military helicopters continue to hover low over the area, while lines of armed officers are guarding the edge of the national highway were traffic continues to flow.
The security situation has affected flights at the main airport in Paris, which is in the vicinity. Officials at Paris Charles de Gaulle say they have changed landing and take-off patterns for aircraft in the light of the security situation.
Meanwhile, police are said to have have identified a suspect in Thursday’s fatal shooting of a policewoman in Montrouge, south of Paris.
AFP news agency quotes a source close to the investigation as saying that two people in his immediate circle have been taken into custody.
French police released photos of the Kouachi brothers – Cherif (L) and Said (R)
It is believed the gunmen were angered by the satirical magazine’s irreverent depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
During the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the attackers are said to have shouted “We are al-Qaeda, Yemen”, an apparent reference to the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula group (AQAP).
In the US, a senior official has told reporters that one of the two brothers alleged to have carried out the attack, Said Kouachi, spent “a few months” training in Yemen with the group.
Said and his younger brother, convicted terrorist Cherif Kouachi, were on a US no-fly list before the attack, a US counter-terrorism official told the New York Times.
Charlie Hebdo victims
Economist and regular magazine columnist Bernard Maris, 68, known to readers as “Uncle Bernard”
Cartoonists Georges Wolinski, 80, and Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76
Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, who had been living under police protection since receiving death threats
Cartoonists Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, and Philippe Honore, 73
Mustapha Ourrad, proof-reader
Elsa Cayat, psychoanalyst and columnist, the only woman killed
Michel Renaud, who was visiting from the city of Clermont-Ferrand
Frederic Boisseau, 42, caretaker, who was in the reception area at the time of the attack
Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, who acted as Charb’s bodyguard, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, who was shot dead while on the ground
Obituary: Defiant editor
On Thursday, France marked a national day of mourning for those killed in Paris.
A minute’s silence was held in public spaces and 20 imams joined hundreds gathered outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
Later, the lights on the Eiffel Tower were turned off as a mark of respect and several thousand people gathered in the Place de la Republique in Paris for a second night.
The lawyer for Charlie Hebdo, Richard Malka, has said that next week’s edition of the magazine will go ahead on Wednesday and will have a print run of one million instead of the normal 60,000 copies.
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