A northern suburb of Paris was scene of an early morning police raid in which French security forces killed two terror suspects in connection with last Friday’s deadly attacks in the capital.
The shootout occurred in Saint-Denis on Wednesday in an operation by special police forces trying to catch a suspect from the Friday attacks in the city, which killed over 130 people.
The suspects were holed up in an apartment in the neighborhood.
Police blocked off the area around Place Jean Jaures in Saint-Denis and ambulances arrived at the scene.
Terrorists with the Takfiri group of Daesh staged bombings and shootings in several venues across Paris on Friday night, killing at least 132 people and injuring 350 others. The fatalities included 89 people who died when gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert venue and opened fire before blowing themselves up.
Saint-Denis is close to Stade de France, the country’s national stadium, which was the site of one of the Friday attacks.
French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that the country was sending its nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to the Middle East to “totally eliminate” Daesh, which has overrun about a third of Syria and Iraq, where it is tyrannizing the civilian population.
Police vans and fire trucks also rushed to the suburb, while a helicopter loitered overhead.
‘Hunt for mastermind’
French prosecutors have identified five assailants from Friday attacks, including four Frenchmen and a fifth man who was fingerprinted in Greece among refugees last month. They believe two men directly involved in the assaults have subsequently escaped.
Investigators have said the Paris attack was planned in Syria and nurtured in Belgium.
The French news agency also reported that today’s police raid was aimed at arresting the suspected mastermind of last week's deadly attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
An unnamed source close to the French investigation has said the 27-year-old “appears to be the brains behind several planned attacks in Europe,” adding that investigators believe he is most likely behind the 132 deaths.
Explosion sounds heard during Paris raid
According to the latest reports, at least seven explosions were heard at the scene of police raid to arrest suspects in last week's deadly Paris attacks.
Sounds like grenade blasts could be heard from the direction of the standoff in the heart of the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
Casualties, arrests reported in Paris raid
French police sources say the standoff ended in two fatalities, including a woman who detonated the explosives she was carrying on her, while another suspect was taken out by a police sniper..
Seven people have been also arrested by the French police.
The Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement that SWAT teams arrested three people in the apartment whose identities have not been revealed yet. Another man and woman were detained near the apartment.
Later on, France's BFM television reported that two more people within apartment building were also taken into custody.
French military forces were also deployed to north Paris as standoff with terror suspects continued.
Hours later, French police sources said the assault on an apartment in northern Paris was over, adding that they are still working to secure the suburb of Saint-Denis after the six-hour raid, which was part of a manhunt for those linked to a devastating string of attacks on Paris late on Friday.