Dammartin-en-Goele (France): French elite forces surrounded two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in the Islamist massacre at Charlie Hebdo as a fresh shooting and hostage drama erupted at a kosher supermarket today in eastern Paris, killing two people.
Snipers were deployed on roofs and helicopters swooped low over a small printing business in the town of Dam Martin-en-Goele, only 12 kilometres from Paris’s main Charles de Gaulle airport.
And in the east of the French capital, a man alredy suspected of gunning down a policewoman yesterday was thought to be behind a new attack on the kosher grocery store, with at least five hostages taken and at least one injured.
The Porte de Vincennes area in eastern Paris was locked down with people told to stay indoors and police streaming into the streets.
Police sources said there was a “connection” between this gunman and the brothers accused of carrying out France’s bloodiest massacre in half a century at the Charlie Hebdo offices.
The massive manhunt for the two brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, appeared to be approaching a dramatic climax as security forces laid siege to the CDT printing business in Dammartin-en-Goele.
Ahead of the stand-off, police had already exchanged fire with the pair in a high-speed car chase. Prosecutors told AFP there had been “no casualties reported” in the immediate aftermath of the shoot-out.
One witness described coming face-to-face at the printer’s with one of the suspects, dressed in black, wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying what looked like a Kalashnikov.
The witness told France Info radio that the man said: “‘Leave, we don’t kill civilians anyhow’.”
Schools nearby Dammartin-en-Goele were evacuated and residents barricaded themselves indoors as the hostage drama unfolded.
One 60-year-old choked back tears as she said how elite forces burst into the shop where her daughter works and ordered them to take cover.
“My daughter told me: ‘Don’t be scared mummy, we’re well protected. She was calm but me, I’m scared. I’m really scared,” said the woman. Prior to the standoff, the suspects had hijacked a Peugeot 206 nearby from a woman who said she recognised them as the brothers, accused of killing 12 people in Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo.
President Francois Hollande rushed to the interior meeting to be briefed on the situation as Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared that France was at “war” with terrorism, but “not in a war against religion.”
— AFP Photo Department (@AFPphoto) January 9, 2015
— Phoebe Lanzer Wood (@PhoebeLondon) January 9, 2015
Suspect in shooting of WPC in South Paris said to know #CharlieHebdo suspects. Jihadist propaganda found at his parents home, sources claim
— Tom Parry (@ParryTom) January 9, 2015