Gunfire, explosions where Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects holed - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gunfire, explosions where Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects holed up; Paris hostage situation fluid

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DEVELOPING: Gunfire and explosions have been heard at printing plant north of Paris where Islamist suspects in Wednesday's massacre at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been holed up for hours.


PARIS (FOX News/AP) -- A pair of suspected cop killers holed up in a Paris kosher supermarket have threatened to kill five hostages if police, who have the jihadist brothers behind Wednesday's massacre at a Paris satirical magazine surrounded 25 miles north of the city, move in on them.

The fast-moving developments came as nearly 90,000 police and military personnel were deployed to end the terror crisis that has gripped the European nation since late Wednesday morning, when a pair of brothers killed 12 in a bloody, commando-style raid on Charlie Hebdo, a magazine which had angered Muslim radicals by repeatedly publishing images of Prophet Muhammed. Authorities were concerned all four, who are believed to know each other and may be part of a terror cell, were prepared to go out as martyrs.

"Even though these guys are a bunch of savages, the negotiators are going to be trying to calm things down ... the less volatile things are, the safer it is for everybody," James Alvarez, who has worked as a consultant for Scotland Yard and the New York Police Department, told Sky News as the dueling situations unfolded.

he hostage takers at Hypercacher (Hyper Kosher), a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris, were identified by police as Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene, a couple suspected in the murder Thursday of Paris Police Officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe as she attended to a routine traffic accident in the city. Reports said they were holding as many as five hostages, including women and children, and that two people had been shot. Reports that two shooting victims had died could not be confirmed. The attack came hours before the Jewish sabbath, as the store was likely at its busiest point of the week.

Coulibaly, 33, and Cherif Kouachi, one of the brothers suspected in Wednesday's massacre, were committed followers of convicted terror kingpin Djamel Beghal, according to Le Monde. Boumeddiene, 26, has been Coulibaly's girlfriend since 2010 and lived in his home while he was serving a prison sentence, Le Monde said. ?

Cherif and Said Kouachi, the Islamist brothers suspected in the attack on Charlie Hebdo were holding at least one hostage inside a printing house in Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town 25 miles outside the capital, surrounded by police and believed to be in touch with hostage negotiators. The suspects reportedly told police negotiators they were ready to "die as martyrs."

Christelle Alleume, who works across the street from the printing plant, said that a round of gunfire interrupted her coffee break Friday morning.

"We heard shots and we returned very fast because everyone was afraid," she told i-Tele. "We had orders to turn off the lights and not approach the windows.

Officials told Fox News that there were four people inside the business when the gunmen went inside, but three people were somehow able to leave the area.

The Associated Press reported that at least three helicopters were seen hovering above the town. At nearby Charles de Gaulle airport, two runways were briefly closed to arrivals to avoid interfering in the standoff, but were later reopened. Schools went into lockdown.

Earlier Friday, a French security official told the AP that shots were fired as the suspects stole a car in the town of Montagny Sainte Felicite in the early morning hours. French officials told Fox News that the suspects threw the car's driver out at the side of the road. The driver, who recognized the suspects, then called police and alerted them to the suspects' whereabouts.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that 88,000 security forces were mobilized in the manhunt that ultimately pinned the brothers in the printing facility, where they fled after being spotted near a vast forest. As the manhunt unfolded, details about the brothers, who left their IDs in a getaway car recovered by police, emerged, painting a picture of homegrown radicals who likely had terror training in the Middle East.

On Thursday, U.S. government sources confirmed that Said Kouachi had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and had direct contact with an Al Qaeda training camp. The other brother, Cherif, had been convicted in France of terrorism charges in 2008 for trying to join up with fighters battling in Iraq. The sources also confirmed that both brothers were on a U.S. no-fly list.

Fox News was told the investigators have made it a priority to determine whether he had contact with Al Qaeda in Yemen's leadership, including a bomb maker and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

French President Francois Hollande called for tolerance after the country's worst terrorist attack since 1961, in the middle of the conflict over Algerian independence from France.

"France has been struck directly in the heart of its capital, in a place where the spirit of liberty -- and thus of resistance -- breathed freely," Hollande said.

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.

Editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, who was among those slain, "symbolized secularism ... the combat against fundamentalism," his companion, Jeannette Bougrab, said on BFM-TV.

"He was ready to die for his ideas," she said.

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 Qaeda have threatened France -- home to Western Europe's largest Muslim population.

The French suspect in a deadly 2014 attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium had returned from fighting with extremists in Syria; and the man who rampaged in southern France in 2012, killing three soldiers and four people at a Jewish school, received paramilitary training in Pakistan.

Fox News' Greg Palkot, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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