Charlie Hebdo suspects killed in Paris after police raid

Charlie Hebdo suspects killed in Paris after police raid
A hostage crisis in Paris came to a bloody end in two police SWAT team raids in Paris. Four hostages and three gunmen, among them two brothers wanted for the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, were killed.
3 min read
09 January, 2015
Police launched two raids in Paris and killed three hostage-takers [AFP]

The two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre were killed in a police raid on a printing plant in north Paris as French elite police teams simultaneously raided two sites where extremist gunmen held hostages.

In the other police assault - on a Jewish supermarket - one assailant was killed along with four hostages.

Police said two of those killed were the suspects wanted for the slaying of twelve people at the Charlie Hebdo offices, brothers, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34.

Bloody day for Paris

Earlier in the day, four people were shot dead during the hostage-taking drama at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, where at least five people had been held, official sources said.

Le Monde named the hostage-taker at the kosher supermarket as Amedy Coulibaly who is suspected of murdering a policewoman in a southern Paris suburb on Thursday.

The hostage crisis came as police swooped on the two suspects of the Charlie Hebdo killings, who were cornered in a building close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

A police official said the hostage-taker at the kosher market, near Paris' Porte de Vincennes, was armed with an automatic rifle and that there were multiple hostages and wounded. 

Police assault

Helmeted SWAT squads converged on the standoff. The French president ordered the country's top security official to the scene, an official in the presidency told The Associated Press.

Reports say that the two brothers made a desperate bid to escape the scene, running out of the building while firing on police. 

Explosions and gunfire were heard as elite police units swarmed into the kosher market.

French officials could not confirm reports of a link between the hostage-taker at the market Friday and the murder of a policewoman in Paris Thursday, or to the two suspects in Wednesday's attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Those attackers, who claimed allegiance to al-Qaida, were on the run until they were cornered by police about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away. 

France had been high alert for other attacks since the newspaper massacre. 

A war-like atmosphere

Rooftop snipers, police in black armoured gear and hovering helicopters lent the small French town near Charles de Gaulle airport the air of a warzone.

Businesses in Dammartin-en-Goele, home to about 8,000 people, shuttered, leaving the streets deserted except for lines of police vehicles and units of heavily armed officers.

Masked and helmeted troopers with automatic weapons were seen peering out of a blue police helicopter hovering overhead.

The forces' focus, like the entire country's, was on a printing business in an industrial park on the town's north eastern outskirts, where the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people during an Islamist attack on the magazine Wednesday had been surrounded.

Inside the brothers, who had evaded police in a two-day manhunt following France's worst terrorist attack in decades, held an employee hostage. 

A little earlier, salesman Didier did not see anything amiss when he arrived at CTD printers for a business meeting, until he met a man at the door dressed in black and carrying what appeared to be a Kalashnikov assault rifle.  He'd stumbled right into one of France's most wanted men as well as his hostage, he told France Info radio.

"When I arrived, my client came out with an armed man who said he was from the police. My client told me to leave so I left," Didier said. 

He identified the man he was to meet as Michel. "I shook Michel's hand and I shook the hand of one of the terrorists," he told the radio. 

Reflecting the extraordinary atmosphere in France now, Didier said he almost believed that the armed man in black was a policeman. 

But when the man told him, "'Leave, we don't kill civilians anyhow', that really struck me," he said. "So I decided to call the police. I guess it was one of the terrorists."