PARIS — Two police officials say at least four people, including the attacker, have died at a kosher grocery in Paris where a gunman took several hostages.
Security forces stormed the grocery minutes after their counterparts assaulted the building outside Paris where two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo killings had holed up.
The two police officials, who could not be named speaking about the quickly developing situation, confirmed the attacker died. One of the officials said three of the dead were hostages.
The gunman has been identified as Amedy Coulibaly.
5 dead, including gunmen in Paris grocery hostage crisisCCTV's Kate Parkinson reported this story from France.
None of the officials could say what has happened to the woman listed on a police bulletin as his accomplice.
The assault came moments after a similar raid on the building where two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo newspaper massacre were cornered.
The gunman at the market had threatened to kill those inside if the brothers were harmed.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) January 9, 2015
Trying to fend off further attacks, the Paris mayor’s office shut down all shops along Rosiers Street in the city’s famed Marais neighborhood in the heart of the tourist district. Hours before the Jewish Sabbath, the street is usually crowded with shoppers — French Jews and tourists alike. The street is also only a kilometer (a half mile) away from Charlie Hebdo’s offices.
At the kosher grocery near the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood in Paris, the gunman burst in shooting just a few hours before the Jewish Sabbath began, declaring “You know who I am,” the official recounted. The attack came before sundown when the store would have been crowded with shoppers.
The official said the gunman is also believed responsible for the roadside killing of a Paris policewoman on Thursday.
Several people wounded when the gunman opened fire in the kosher grocery were able to flee and get medical care, the official said.
Police said 100 students were under lockdown in schools nearby and the highway ringing Paris was closed.
Hours before and 40 kilometers (25 miles) away , a convoy of police trucks, helicopters and ambulances streamed toward Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle airport, to seize the Charlie Hebdo suspects, who had hijacked a car in a nearby town after more than two days on the run.
Two brothers linked to al-Qaida grabbed a hostage early Friday and were cornered by police inside a printing house in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. They are believed responsible for the attack that decimated Charlie Hebdo’s staff and left two police officers dead.
One of the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo killings, Cherif Kouachi, 32, was convicted of terrorism charges in 2008 for ties to a network sending jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. A U.S. official said his 34-year-old brother, Said, had visited Yemen, although it was unclear whether he was there to join extremist groups like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based there. Witnesses said he claimed allegiance to the group during the attack.
Both were also on the U.S. no-fly list, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said. The American officials also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss foreign intelligence publicly.
Nine people, members of the brothers’ entourage, have been detained for questioning in several regions. In all, 90 people, many of them witnesses to the grisly assault on the satirical weekly, were questioned for information on the attackers, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
With the brothers trapped, Charles de Gaulle closed two runways to arrivals to avoid interfering in the standoff or endangering planes.
Authorities evacuated a school near the CTF Creation Tendance Decouverte printing plant around midday Friday after the suspects agreed by phone to allow the children safe passage, town spokeswoman Audrey Taupenas told The Associated Press. About an hour later, an AP reporter counted nine large, empty buses headed toward the area, apparently to evacuate the children.
Taupenas said there appeared to be one hostage, a number confirmed by a police official on the scene who was not allowed to discuss the operation.
A man who said he had his car stolen early Friday told Europe 1 the first man who approached him had machine gun and the second man had a gun “with a kind of grenade at the end.”
Tens of thousands of French security forces have mobilized to prevent a new terror attack since the assault on Charlie Hebdo, which decimated its editorial staff, including the chief editor who had been under armed guard after receiving death threats for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. He and his police bodyguard were the first to die, witnesses said.
Louis Zenon, a 14-year-old who lives close to siege site, watched as helicopters hovered over closed-off industrial area.
“There is a lot of fear,” he said, adding everyone he knew was staying home with their doors and shutters closed. “We’re scared. The schools are being evacuated.”
Charlie Hebdo had long drawn threats for its depictions of Islam, although it also satirized other religions and political figures. The weekly paper had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, and a sketch of Islamic State’s leader was the last tweet sent out by the irreverent newspaper, minutes before the attack. Nothing has been tweeted since.
Eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor were killed in the attack. Charlie Hebdo planned a special edition next week, produced in the offices of another paper.
Authorities around Europe have warned of the threat posed by the return of Western jihadis trained in warfare. France counts at least 1,200 citizens in the war zone in Syria — headed there, returned or dead. Both the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have threatened France, home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population.
Story compiled with information from The Associated Press.
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