Paris attacks:Two hostage situations end

Follow developments as four supermarket hostages, gunman and Charlie Hebdo suspects reported dead

Sorcha Pollak, Hugh Linehan, Genevieve Carbery Fri, Jan 9
 
LIVE: Paris attacks:Two hostage situations end

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  • 09:02

    Good morning, Sorcha Pollak here.  I’ll be covering live-updates of the ongoing police suspect hunt in France following the attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.   The huge police operation is currently underway in a town north-east of Paris.  


    Please get in touch with any tweets or comments at @SorchaPollak or spollak@irishtimes.com

  • 09:03
  • 09:05
  • 09:11

    AFP are reporting that shots have been fired during a car chase and at least one hostage has been taken to the north-east of Paris, in the same area French police were hunting for the two primary suspects for Wednesday’s attack, brothers Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi.

    The hostage drama is taking palce at a business in Dammartin-en-Goele, to the north-east of Paris, and comes 48 hours into the massive manhunt for the Islamist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

    It's not clear how many people have been taken hostage, according to a police source close to the investigation, reports AFP.

  • 09:13
  • 09:19

    At least one person has reportedly been killed and several injured in the shoot-out ahead of a hostage taking in Dammartin-en-Goele, according to Reuters.

    A French police convoy and helicopters are rushing to the scene of the operation to detain the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects.

     

  • 09:25
  • 09:25
  • 09:27
  • 09:30

    The Paris prosecutor has denied a radio report that at least one person had been killed in the shootout preceding the hostage-taking in an industrial zone of the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, reports Reuters.

    Police have cordoned off the northern town where the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo killings have been identified.

    Earlier, RTL radio said at least one person had died and several were injured in a shoot-out. The Interior Ministry could not immediately confirm whether there were victims.

     

  • 09:31
  • 09:37
    AFP is reporting the suspects are holed up in a printing business named CTD on an industrial estate in Dammartin-en-Goele and are believed to have taken at least one hostage.  
  • 09:39

    You can watch a live video feed of the manhunt from Danmartin-en-Goele here.

  • 09:40
  • 09:41
  • 09:47
    A statement on the Dammartin-en-Goele’s town website has asked residents to stay indoors and that students and children remain confined in their schools.
  • 09:52
    The town of Dammartin-en-Goele where the two suspects are believed to be hiding is near Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport. Air news agency airlive.net has reported that aviation authorities have closed two northern airport runways to landings. There are still a few take offs taking place.
  • 09:57
    A helicopter flies over the CTD printing building in an industrial area where the suspects in the shooting attack at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo headquarters are reportedly holding a hostage, in Dammartin-en-Goele, some 40 kilometres north-east of Paris. There has been an exchange of fire, according to media reports. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA
    A helicopter flies over the CTD printing building in an industrial area where the suspects in the shooting attack at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo headquarters are reportedly holding a hostage, in Dammartin-en-Goele, some 40 kilometres north-east of Paris. There has been an exchange of fire, according to media reports. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA
  • 10:03

    Thousands of police and security officers are now taking part in the pursuit of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, which has entered a third day, reports PA.

    Teams of heavily-armed officers have been scouring the dense woodland in the 32,000-acre Foret de Retz around 50 miles outside Paris.

    The brothers, Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, were already known to US authorities and had been put on the American no-fly list, a senior US counter-terrorism official said.

    Another US official said the older brother, Said, had travelled to Yemen. It was unclear whether he was there to join up with extremist groups such as al Qaida.

    A third man, Hamyd Mourad, 18, surrendered to police after hearing his name on the news in connection with the attack, a judicial official said.

    The tension gripping France deepened further yesterday after a policewoman was shot dead in a southern Parisian suburb in an attack which officials are believed to be treating as a terrorist act.

  • 10:04
  • 10:09
    The printing firm Creation Tendance Decouverte in Danmartin-en-Goele where the suspects are reported holed up. Photograph: Google street view
    The printing firm Creation Tendance Decouverte in Danmartin-en-Goele where the suspects are reported holed up. Photograph: Google street view
  • 10:11
  • 10:13
    French president François Hollande is due to attend a briefing on the siege in Dammartin-en-Goele and is expected at the interior ministry for an update on the situation.
  • 10:17
  • 10:24
  • 10:26
    French president Francois Hollande is giving a live press conference.  
  • 10:27
  • 10:29
    Latest news on Charles de Gaulle airport – airlive.net has reported that an airport spokesman has confirmed 2 of the 4 runways are closed to arrivals at Charles de Gaulle airport. The spokesman said diversions are not affecting flight schedules.  
  • 10:33
    The French newsweekly L’Os has reported that according to several sources in the town, mobile phones in Dammartin-en-Goele have stopped working.
  • 10:37
    Le Parisien newspaper has reported the four injured are still in an emergency situation but their lives are no longer in danger.  
  • 10:46

    French president Francois Hollande did not shed light on the siege in Dammartin-en-Goele in the press conference at the French Interior ministry this morning.


    He said the country must do everything it can to assure the protection of its citizens.


    “We must ensure that the French people can live together in safety in the future."


    He praised the international solidarity for France in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.


    He said those taking part in planned demonstrations this weekend will be protected by police.

  • 10:48
    "The hunt continues. Media from around the whole world are here."  
  • 10:57
    The Mosques at Puteaux and Courbevoie in Paris have organised demonstrations today to condemn Wednesday's attack at Charlie Hebdo. They will meet at 3.30pm in front of the Grande Arche de la Défense in Puteaux to the west of Paris.  
  • 11:02
  • 11:20

    France Info have released an extraordinary recording of an interview with a man who claims to have shaken hands with one of the suspects this morning.


    The man, who gave his name as Didier, said he had an appointment with Michel from the CTD printing and publicity business in Dammartin-en-Goele this morning.


    “When I arrived, my client came out with an armed man who introduced himself as a police officer. My client asked me to leave so I left.”


    “The person who had introduced himself as a police officer said to me: Leave, we don’t kill civilians.”


    Didier said he thought it was strange and decided to call the police.


    “I suppose it was one of the terrorists,” he said.


    He said he did not recognise the man as he was dressed like a regular police officer.



    “He could have been a police officer if he hadn’t said to me `we don’t kill civilians’. He was heavily armed, like police officers who intervene with Kalashnikov type rifles.”


    He shook hands with both Michel from the CTD printing business and the armed man and turned to leave. After he left Michel closed the door behind him.


    “I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t know if it was a hostage taking or a robbery.”


    “I think I’m going to go see my friends and play the lotto,” he added. “I was very lucky this morning.”

  • 11:21
  • 11:24
    The French edition of the Huffington Post has posted this map showing all the demonstrations planned for this weekend across France.  
  • 11:26
    BREAKING news from Agence France-Presse  
  • 11:32
  • 11:34
  • 11:51

    Here’s a summary of what we know so far

    - The hostage drama is taking place at a printworks at Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris.

    - Police have reportedly opened hostage negotiations with the suspects.

    - The town has been sealed off with residents asked to stay indoors and local schools on lockdown.

    - AFP is reporting the death of the Paris policewoman killed on Thursday in Montrouge, a south-western suburb of Paris, is linked to Wednesday’s attack.

    - A local man said in an interview with the French radio station France Info that he shook hands with one of the suspects this morning at the CTD printing business.

    - President Francois Hollande says those taking part in planned demonstrations around France over the weekend will be protected by police.

    - Le Parisien newspaper report that four of the people injured in the Charlie Hebdo attack are still in a serious condition but their lives are no longer at risk. The seven other people injured in the attack on the magazine have left hospital, according to Bernard Cazeneuve, the French home secretary.

    - L’Os newsweekly says mobile phones are down in Dammartin-en-Goele.

    - The runways at Paris Charles de Gaulle are now back open for landing.

    - The brothers, Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi, were already known to US authorities and had been put on the American no-fly list, a senior US counter-terrorism official said.

  • 12:01
    Tasoieach Enda Kenny stands outside the French residency in Ballsbridge after signing the embassy's book of condolence. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
    Tasoieach Enda Kenny stands outside the French residency in Ballsbridge after signing the embassy's book of condolence. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
  • 12:10

    Here's the latest from Irish Times journalist Ruadhán Mac Cormaic who is reporting from Paris.

    It's now almost four hours since the stand-off began at a printing company in Dammartin-en-Goële, northeast of Paris. What we know is that two men - believed to be the Kouachi brothers Chérif and Said, who are suspected of the attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday - have taken at least one hostage.

    A huge police operation is underway. Roads in and out of Dammartin, a town of about 8000 people not far from Charles de Gaulle airport, have been closed. Residents have been told to stay at home. Police helicopters have been circling overhead, which may explain why commercial flight paths have been changed in the area. Schools are on lockdown.

    The authorities are clearly in a delicate position. They know the hostage-takers are heavily armed and dangerous, and they're working in poor weather conditions in a relatively built-up area.

    The Élysée Palace says President François Hollande is following events closely and is being kept informed of developments on the ground.

  • 12:10
  • 12:14
  • 12:18

    Here's Ruadhán Mac Cormaic again reporting from Paris.

    For many in France, today's standoff recalls the siege that developed in Toulouse in 2012, when 23-year-old Mohamed Merah was surrounded in his apartment after killing three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi.

    That siege ended after 32 hours, when Merah was shot dead in a gun battle with police commandos. Two police officers were injured.

    The authorities said Merah took refuge in his bathroom, wearing a bullet-proof, and burst through the door and fired 30 times when police sent in a video probe.

    Merah's killings, carried out over a 10 days in March 2012, horrified France and led to the virtual suspension of that year's presidential election campaign.

    In the case of the Toulouse siege, however, no hostages had been taken. The situation facing the police in Dammartin is a great deal more delicate and complex.

  • 12:19
  • 12:26
    French police stand next to the entrance of Paris Mosque as French Muslims arrive for Friday prayers in Paris, following Wednesday's deadly attack at the Paris offices of weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by two masked gunmen who shouted Islamist slogans. Photograph:Youssef Boudlal/Reuters
    French police stand next to the entrance of Paris Mosque as French Muslims arrive for Friday prayers in Paris, following Wednesday's deadly attack at the Paris offices of weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by two masked gunmen who shouted Islamist slogans. Photograph:Youssef Boudlal/Reuters
  • 12:29
  • 12:30
  • 12:38
    Brekaing news: Reuters are reporting a shoot out at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris near the Porte de Vincennes with one injured.  
  • 12:41
  • 12:47

    France 24 are reporting that the hostage taker at the kosher grocery store in eastern Paris is the same fugitive suspected of the Montrouge police officer shooting.

  • 12:49
  • 12:50
  • 12:58

    Dublin City Council has announced it is opening a Book of Condolence for victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack at The Mansion House on Dawson Street.

    The public will be able to sign the book from:
    3pm-6pm Friday, January 9th
    10am-5pm Saturday, January 10th
    10am-5pm Monday, January 12th

    Lord Mayor Christy Burke says the book will allow the people of Dublin to show their sympathy for the victims of the recent attacks in Paris.

    “It is also a mark of solidarity with the many French people living in Dublin,” said Mr Burke. “I will present the Book of Condolence to the French Ambassador on behalf of the city of Dublin.”

    There are two other books of condolences open at the French Embassy on Ailesbury road in Dublin and the Alliance Francaise in Limerick.

  • 13:02

    AFP says at least five hostages have been taken at the kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.

    Le Monde has reported sounds of gunfire near the Porte de Vincennes.

  • 13:02
  • 13:05
    France 24 says there are at least two injured in the new shootout in eastern Paris.  
  • 13:10
  • 13:15
    French president Francois Hollande has ordered the country’s top security official to the scene at the kosher supermaket near the Porte de Vincennes, an official in the presidency told the Associated Press.
  • 13:17
  • 13:23
    BREAKING: France 24 say two people have died in the hostage drama near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.  
  • 13:24
  • 13:33
    French police have released an appeal for information on two suspects in the shooting of the policewoman yesterday. The appeal shows photos of two people; a woman (27) named Hayat Boumeddiene and a man (32) named Amedy Coulibaly.  
  • 13:36
    Latest news from Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris – journalists are allowed into the town, schools have reopened and residents are able to leave their homes.
  • 13:55

    Amedy Coulibaly, the man identified as the shooter from yesterday’s attack on a policewoman in a southwestern suburb of Paris, was already known to police, according to Le Point.

    Coulibaly reportedly abandoned his vehicle near La Vache Noir, a shopping area located between Paris and the suburb of Arcueil following the attack.

    Like Chérif Kouachi, one of the brothers responsible for Wednesday’s attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, Coulibaly appeared in 2010 when he was named in connection with a plot to spring another Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem from jail.

    Belkacem used to be in the outlawed Algerian Islamic Armed Group (GIA) and was jailed for life in 2002 for a Paris metro station bombing in 1995 which injured 30 people.

    Chérif Kouachi and his brother Said, who was also named in the plot, were not jailed for the plans to release Belkacem from jail because of lack of evidence.

    It is believed Amedy Coulibaly, the suspect from yesterday’s shooting, also used to visit convicted terrorist Djamel Beghal looking for religious advice, reports Le Point.

  • 13:58
  • 14:17

    Amedy Coulibaly, the man believed to be holding hostages in the kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes and the primary suspect in yesterday’s shooting of a policewoman, is very close to Chérif Kouachi, reports L’Obs.

    The 32-year-old convert to Islam was first convicted of violent robbery back in 2001 when he was still a minor, writes the French newspaper. He was sentenced to six years in prison after he was arrested for armed robbery in 2004. He later became a drug dealer and was convicted in 2006.

    In 2010 he was arrested by police on suspicion of having participated in the attempt to free Islamist Smain Ait Ali Belkacem from jail.

    Coulibaly’s home was searched where police discovered ammunition and he was sentenced to jail.

    He was released just over one year ago.

  • 14:18
  • 14:30
    The hostage taker at the Porte de Vincennes has demanded that police free the Kouachi brothers, reports RTL France.  
  • 14:45
    Parisian schools close to the supermarket where hostages are being held in the Porte de Vincennes area are on lockdown, reports le Monde.
  • 14:56

    The latest from Dammartin-en-Goele – the two suspects identified as the Kouachi brothers have taken refuge in a printing business in an industrial zone in the town north-east of Paris.

    They are surrounded by a large police presence but there has been no attack as of yet, says Le Monde. The interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has indicated they are trying to establish contact with the men. However, it has not been confirmed whether there are negotiations ongoing between the police and the suspects.  

  • 14:57
  • 15:00
    French police forcibly stop at gun point young people on a scooter as they arrive near the scene of a hostage taking at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters  
    French police forcibly stop at gun point young people on a scooter as they arrive near the scene of a hostage taking at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters  
  • 15:04
    Police have ordered the closure of all shops in the famous Jewish neighbourhood of Le Marais in central Paris, France 24 are reporting.  
  • 15:07
    Hugh Linehan here. I'll be taking over from Sorcha Pollak for the next while.


  • 15:31

  • 15:42
    The newspaper Le Parisien interviewed alleged hostage taker Amedy Coulibaly in summer 2009. A print article dated 15 July, which was tweeted by a member of the newspaper’s staff today, says Coulibaly planned to meet French president Nicolas Sarkozy as part of an effort from the Elysee to support companies which employed young people.


  • 15:51
    More travel chaos in the Paris region this evening, it appears.


  • 15:56
  • 15:57
    Sky TV is reporting gunfire at the scene of the first siege.
  • 15:58
    France 24 is also reporting several seconds of gunfire have been heard at the scene of the first siege around the printworks. 'Gunshots and several explosions have been heard'.
  • 15:58

  • 15:59
  • 16:02
    UPDATE: Reports of gunfire and explosions from the printworks at Dammartin where the two suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers have been besieged since early this morning. Smoke is rising from the building.


  • 16:04

  • 16:04
    France 24: 'The operation is clearly underway. The gunshots you can hear have been going on sporadically for the last two or three minutes.'
  • 16:10
    This tweeted image from Le Nouvel Observateur appears to show special forces moving towards the printworks at Dammartin.


  • 16:15
    In this YouTube video from the Telegraph you can clearly hear the gunfire and explosions.

  • 16:16
    Reports from Port de Vincennes coming in now of gunfire at the second siege location. Observers heard "three or four major explosions" followed by "a hail of gunfire".
  • 16:21
    This tweet from an Agence France Presse journalist indicates that both suspects in Dammartin have been killed and the hostage has been freed.


  • 16:22

  • 16:26
    Le Figaro now reporting that 'several' of the Porte de Vincennes hostages have been freed. Other reports that the man who had been holding them has been 'neutralised'.



  • 16:28


  • 16:33
    All three hostage-takers have been killed. Events are moving very fast, so any reports should be viewed with some caution. But it does seem clear at this point that the two sieges in Dammartin and Porte de Vincennes have been brought to and end following parallel assaults by French security forces. It seems clear that the two Kouachi brothers have been killed. It has now been confirmed by police that the man holding hostages in a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes has also been killed.
  • 16:35
    First image of the hostages being freed in Porte de Vincennes.


  • 16:38
    'The Paris sieges are over. All gunmen are dead and all hostages are alive' - AFP quotes ''official spokesman'.
  • 16:40

  • 16:45
    This dramatic picture from Vincennes was just tweeted by Ruadhan Mac Cormaic


  • 17:05
    Reuters are reporting that 'at least four' hostages died in Porte de Vincennes.



  • 17:06

  • 17:36

  • 18:12
    Genevieve Carbery here taking over from Hugh Linegan to bring you the latest in the aftermath of the Paris hostage twin sieges which ended about an hour ago with the deaths of three gunmen at and at least four hostages.
  • 18:19
    While we wait to hear from French president Francois Hollande, France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has been thanking those who put their lives on the line in bringing the hostage situations to an end.
  • 18:26
    British PM David Cameron is to join French president Francois Hollande at a national unity rally in Paris on Sunday to include leaders of France’s mainstream parties, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy

    However Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National, has protested that her party has not been invited to take part, saying: “They say that the Front National are not welcome to a meeting where every other party is invited. There is no longer national unity, it’s disappeared because of their actions.”
  • 18:30
    Another hostage situation has begun in France but it is unclear if it is connected to the other two incidents. Two people are being held hostage by a gunman in a jewellery store in the southern French city of Montpellier, a police spokesman has said. The officer said the attacker has locked himself inside the shop, with police on stand-by outside, PA is reporting.
  • 18:36
    The Charlie Hebdo gunman told French TV he was sent and financed by Al Qaeda, AFP is reporting. It also reports that the supermarket gunman told French TV he had "coordinated" with the Charlie Hebdo gunmen.
  • 18:51
    There are reports that supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly told French television station BGMTV earlier today hat he was a member of Islamic State.

    Just to remind you who he is

    He is a former Coca-cola worker raised in Grigny in the south of central Paris.
    Reports in France said he was named along with the younger Kouachi brother in connection with the 2010 prison escape plot for another Islamist, Smain Ait Ali Belkacem, who bombed the Paris metro in 1995, which injured 30 people.

    Coulibaly was sentenced to five years in prison following his arrest for his part in the plot but was released from jail last year.
  • 18:52
    French president Francois Hollande is addressing the nation asking people to be vigilant and to feel united.
  • 18:54
    Hollande describes the supermarket attack as anti-Semitic and has urged people not to be divided. "We are a nation that is not scared," he said through a translator.
  • 19:18
    An Israeli official has said 15 hostages were freed from the kosher supermarket in Paris, according to PA. President Hollande has confirmed that four hostages were killed at the market siege.

    This makes 19, a much higher number of hostages than it was thought were being held while the siege was going on earlier today.
  • 19:21
    US president Barack Obama is hopeful that the immediate threat is now resolved and said he has been in close contact with the French Government about the Paris shootings. The United States stands with the people of France, Mr Obama has said in the past few minutes.
  • 19:34
  • 19:35
    Below is footage from a different angle of the siege in Port de Vincennes coming to an end.
  • 19:38
    More from Obama: "In the streets of Paris the world's seen once again what terrorists stand for: they have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering. And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings. And that's what the city of Paris represents to the world."
  • 19:47
    Interesting piece from AP about Al Qaeda in Yemen, which looks like being behind the attacks. It says "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has been the most active of the terror network's branches in trying to strike in the West. There are signs now that the group inspired or directly plotted the attack on Charlie Hebdo. If so, it would be the Yemen-based branch's first successful strike outside its home territory."
  • 20:29
    Ronan McGreevy has been out at a mosque in north Dublin where the imam told the congregation that  Muslims must accept there is a problem with extremists hijacking their faith. Read more here.  
  • 20:50
  • 20:51
  • 20:53
    Solidarity on one of Paris's landmarks tonight:  
  • 21:19
    More on the Al Qaeda Yemen connection to this attack. The Charlie Hebdo attack was "as revenge for the honor" of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, it has told AP. It said Al Qaeda Yemen directed the operations which were in line with warnings from Bin Laden to the West about "the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslim sanctities"
  • 21:58
    Thanks for following the live blog.  The coverage will continue on IrishTimes.com through the weekend.