AS IT HAPPENED: Police kill jihadists in raid
The Local · 18 Nov 2015, 17:21
Published: 18 Nov 2015 17:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2015 17:21 GMT+01:00
- Police to apologize after wrongful Aachen arrests (18 Nov 15)
- French police 'hunt for second man on the run' (17 Nov 15)
- Brother urges key Paris suspect to surrender (17 Nov 15)
This blog is now closed.
- French police carry out another 118 home searches overnight
- Police launch raid in Saint-Denis northern Paris
- A woman blew herself up by detonating suicide vest
- Second jihadist killed by police sniper
- Five police injured and a police dog killed
- Raid targeting alleged mastermind of attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud
- The whereabouts of Abaaoud has not been confirmed
- Explosions heard near scene and shooting
- Operation now over
18:35 - This blog is now closed
For a recap of today, which saw two killed and seven arrested in a mass police raid in the northern suburbs of Paris, click here.
The blog will be reopened on Thursday morning.
17:41 - Eagles of Death Metal release statement
The band who were playing on stage at the Bataclan when the terrorist gunmen burst in have had this to say:
For the full story, read here.
17:36 - Collateral victim of Bataclan massacre
The tragic story of Stephane Hache emerged on Wednesday.
Hache rented a studio apartment near the Bataclan theatre. He was killed when a stray bullet passed through the open window of his apartment and hit him in the back.
His body was not found until some point over the weekend, when police broke into his apartment after being alerted by his worried family.
17:21 - Possible third terrorist dead in Saint-Denis
As we reported earlier there are suggestions that a third terrorist died in the huge police raid in Saint-Denis this morning.
Earlier the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told parliament that there were "two dead, possibly more."
And the Interior Ministry has just given a statement to BFM TV saying "It is possible that a third terrorist body in the rubble" of the apartment stormed in Saint-Denis. "We must wait until the investigation is progressing for identification."
17:15 - More pictures emerge from police raid
16:34 - The moment the female suicide bomber detonated her vest
Le Parisien newspaper has spoken to one witness from Saint Denis this morning who described the moment when a woman suicide bomber blew herself up.
She told the newspaper: "During a ten or fifteen minute lull in the shooting I heard a woman shouting: ‘Help, help, help me!’ The police asked her to identify herself and to show herself. She showed her hands but she didn’t reveal her face.
She withdrew them and then put them up again several times. They shouted at her: ‘Keep your hands in the air!’ They told her: ‘We’re going to shoot.’
The shooting resumed. The police were firing from the roof of the building opposite. Suddenly there was an enormous explosion [from the window, inside the flat]. It was probably the woman who blew herself up."
16:00 - Suggestions more than two dead in Saint-Denis raid
France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has suggested that more than two died in Wednesday morning's raid in Saint-Denis.
He told parliament that "at least two died, possibly more".
Two of those arrested were reportedly taken to hospital after the raid.
"Too much time was wasted," said the man hoping to take another run at the presidency in 2017 polls.
"Nor did the government draw all the right conclusions about the impact of our military intervention in Syria on internal security," said Sarkozy, who himself led a French intervention in Libya in 2011.
(A suspect is led away by police after Wednesday's raid in Saint-Denis. Photo: AFP)
14:51 - 'Second suspect still on the run'
Reports have claimed that police are desperately hunting a second suspect in connection with Friday's terror attacks in Paris, a man believed to have taken part in the shootings on the terraces of restaurants and bars.
The reports, which remain unconfirmed and which came in on Tuesday night, claim that the man is on the run along with suspected mastermind Salah Abdelslam.
14:06 - More pics emerge of arrests made during raid
14:02 - Forensic officers move into apartment building
13:58 - More from president Hollande
French President Francois Hollande urged the nation Wednesday not to "give in to fear" or excessive reactions in the wake of the jihadist attacks on Paris.
"No anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim act can be tolerated," he told a meeting of the nation's mayors after police carried out a massive assault in Paris targeting the alleged mastermind of the assaults.
Hollande was speaking earlier to mayors from across France. As well as reconfirming that "France was at war" he announced a plan to create 23,000 places for asylum seekers and said France would accept 30,000 refugees over the next tow years.
"Refugees were not to blame for the terror attacks," he said.
He also said municipal police could access arms from the national police reserves. In France each town can decide whether or not its local police are armed.
A French police dog named Diesel was killed on Wednesday during a huge security services' operation against jihadists holed up in an apartment to the north of Paris, police said.
13:51 - Police try to verify whether attacks "mastermind" among dead, arrested
The Paris prosecutor said at the end of the operation that investigations following Friday's attacks allowed police "to obtain telephonic surveillance and witness testimony which led us to believe that Abaaoud was likely to be in an... apartment in Saint-Denis".
But he added: "Nobody has been able to enter the building so forensic police have not started their work."
"It is impossible to give the identities" of the two suspected jihadists killed in the assault, he said. The dead included a woman who detonated explosives and blew herself up.
13:46 - Woman who blew herself up 'the cousin of terror mastermind'
Sources close to the investigation have told BFM TV that the woman who detonated her suicide vest at the start of the police raid was the cousin of the jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is suspected of organising Friday's Paris terror attacks.
13:39 - Cordon lifted around Saint-Denis apartment
Police have lifted the cordon around the scene of this morning's stand-off, reports The Local's Oliver Gee , allowing residents to return home and journalists and camera crews to get a lot closer to where the raid took place.
A tighter cordon is still in place around the actual block of flats where forensics teams and investigators continue their work.
13:29 - Three British injured in Paris attacks, one killed
British PM David Cameron has been updating parliament about the British involved in the terror attacks.
He says one British national was killed in the Bataclan theatre. Three British nationals were injured but have returned to the UK and another 15 are being treated for trauma.
13:24 - Here's a full wrap on the police raids from AFP
A woman blew herself up and a suspected jihadist was killed during a huge police assault in Paris on Wednesday targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks in the capital.
13:16 - Hollande speaks to mayors of France
The president Francois Hollande is giving a speech to the mayors from all over France, who have gathered in Paris today.
He speaks about Wednesday'sraid saying the "terrorists holed up in Saint-Denis apartment had links the odious" Paris terror attacks.
"What the terrorists wanted to target was the very idea of France," Hollande said.
Hollande also commends the security force who took part in Wednesday's raid as well as that on the Bataclan on Friday night.
France is proud to be able to call on the forces of order off such high quality," he said.
13:07 - All victims of Paris attacks identified
All 129 fatalities in last week's Paris attacks have now been identified but dozens of other casualties remain in critical
condition, a statement from the French cabinet said Wedneday.
"To date, of the dead victims have all been identified, that is 129," said the statement issued after the weekly cabinet meeting. A total of 221 people remain in hospital, dozens of them seriously hurt.
12:43 - Paris gunman on the run was held by Dutch police in February
While Abdelhamid Abaaoud is believed to have ordered and organised the Paris attacks, the chief suspect for the bar and restaurant terraces Salah Abdelslam is still believed to be on the run.
It has emerged on Wednesday that he was briefly arrested in the Netherlands in February on drugs offences. This from AFP:
Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in last week's terror attacks in Paris, was briefly held and fined in February for possession of cannabis, Dutch police said on Wednesday.
"He was arrested during a routine roadside exercise in early February," a police spokesman told AFP, adding that a "limited" quantity of cannabis was found in his car.
Abdeslam was allowed to continue on his way after paying a 70 euro ($75) fine, the police said.
Frenchman Abdeslam, accompanied by one of his brothers and another person was travelling south in a Belgian-registered car when he was stopped near the western Dutch town of Gorinchem.
The police did not say which brother was involved in the incident.
12:29 - Terrorists 'planned to attack La Défense'
Reuters news agency are reporting that the suspects arrested or killed in Saint-Denis was a team that was planning an attack on the La Défense business district the west of Paris.
"The police were looking for terrorists who were preparing to act on the basis of information from the France's counter-terrorism organisation SDAT and from abroad," said Reuters.
This remains unconfirmed.
12:20 - Interior Minister salutes courage of officers
After confirming that a second terrorist had been killed in Wednesday's raid, interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve commended the courage of the officers who too part in the operation.
"They came under fire for a number of hours under conditions that they have never experienced before," Cazeneuve said.
12:17 - "Too early to know identities"
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Paris prosecutor François Molins have just spoken briefly to the media.
Molins confirmed the raid was carried out because it was suspected that alleged Paris attacks mastermind Abaaoud was hiding out in the apartment.
He said however that it was too early to know the identities of the three arrested or the male jihadist who was shot by police.
12:05 - Police break down door of church
It seems that while the main police operation is over, officers from Swat teams are continuing to search buildings. They have smashed down the door of a church, The Local's Oliver Gee reports.
He said: "It was total chaos because it was in front of all the journalists here. They didn't have their weapons raised as they went in. We have no idea what's happening."
Police have broken down the doors of the church where the press are standing. No one knows why. They're inside now. pic.twitter.com/6znLxrn8HU— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
12:03 - 'Islam is not terrorism'
Our reporter has been speaking to people at the scene of the raid.
"I want to say Islam is not terrorism and terrorism is not Islam," says an onlooker. pic.twitter.com/NnUKJgdAvh— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
11:54 - Woman jihadist 'had housed Abaaoud'
Reports say police had been closely watching a woman since Tuesday, who was suspected of housing terror mastermind Abdelhamid Abaauoud. It was this woman who reportedly blew herself up on Wednesday morning when the raid began.
11:45 - Government confirms raid is over
Stephane Le Foll, the government spokesman, has just been speaking live on television and has confirmed that the counter terror operation that began at 4.20am is now over
In all seven people were arrested, including three from inside the apartment where the stand-off took palce.
11:41 - Police break down door away from from cordon
While reports claim the main police operation is over, The Local's Oliver Gee has just witnessed six or seven police raid a block of flats outside the cordon.
He says around six police were walking up the road then began kicking in the door to get into a block of flats. Once inside he heard more noise and the sound of police kicking in doors.
The raid may or may not be linked to the main raid close by.
11:37 - Police confirm to BFMTV that raid is over
BFMTV are also saying raid is over quoting police.
11:35 - AFP reports raid is over
AFP are now citing police sources claiming the police raid is over. TV images continue to show scores of police and counter-terrorist officers milling around as they have done for several hours now.
11:29 - Up to 20,000 residents remain blocked
Around 20,000 remain blocked inside the police cordon, reports say
11:25 - More amateur footage of raid emerges
The fierce shoot-out that occurred at the start of the raid can was caught on amateur video by residents nearby. This video from Le Parisien reveals the violence of the gun fight that lasted for several minutes.
11:16 - Is Abdelhamid Abaaoud inside the apartment?
That's the main question being asked right now as the police operation continues albeit with an air of calm. Many reports presume Abaaoud, the jihadist presumed to have ordered the attacks on Paris last Friday, is the man reported to be still holed up in the apartment.
The condition of the man holed up is unknown, but it is believed he is the last of six people who were in the apartment when the police raid began.
One woman blew herself up, another was reportedly killed by a police sniper and three men were seized alive in the apartment and pulled out. Their identities are unknown.
So as yet we have no confirmation of the whereabouts of Abaaoud, and we do not know whether or not he was actually in the apartment at the time of the raid.
11:10 - #Jesuisunchien
The news that a police dog named Diesel died in this morning's raid seems to have touched a few hearts. The hashtag #jesuisunchien is trending on Twitter in France.
The dog was killed by the terrorists during the raid, police confirmed earlier.
11:05 - A second police operation underway in Saint-Denis
Le Parisien and BFMTV are now reporting that police are carrying out an operation on a second apartment in the area. Not many details so far on what is happening there.
11:02 - Still confusion over whether second jihadist killed
Most French media are now reporting that a second jihadist was killed in the raid earlier this morning. There were reports earlier that the man was killed by a police sniper. Prosecutors however have only confirmed the death of the female, who detonated her suicide bomb vest.
10:53 Police tweet confirms dog's death
The French police twitter account has been providing live updates on the operation. They're now confirming the death of a police dog attached to the RAID elite unit. The dog was a 7-year-old Alsatian called Diesel, "killed by the terrorists":
10:46 - Residents tell of their fear
The Local's Oliver Gee, in Saint-Denis, has been speaking to local residents.
"I've got a wife and 2 kids at home around the corner and they're very, very, very scared," a man called Ibrahim told him.
"I want to say Islam is not terrorism and terrorism is not Islam," says an onlooker. pic.twitter.com/NnUKJgdAvh— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
10:40 - Apartment was "squat"
The apartment raided this morning in the Saint-Denis district of Paris is being described by several people with knowledge of the situation as a "squat."
According to le Figaro, the man identified by police and media as the occupier of the flat is neither its owner nor its legal tenant. This information was provided to le Figaro by the occupant of the flat below.
A woman friend of the occupier, who was also taken into custody by police, told AFP she had slept in the apartment last week. She also called it "a kind of squat."
10:27 - Five police injured in raid
Police have confirned that five officers were injured in the raid, none of them seriously.
Still only one confirmed dead - the female jihadist who blew herself up, although there are reports of a second jihadist killed, but that remains unconfirmed.
10:22 - Some images from the scene of the stand off
10:15 - Video from earlier in the raid
10:08 - Tense around police cordon
The Local's Oliver Gee who is at Saint-Denis says residents are not being allowed back into their homes inside the cordon. He has seen residents inside the cordon, peering out from behind their curtains. Residents have been told to stay inside and close shutters and windows.
Mood is tense among gathered crowds still. "This is where we live, where we eat, where we go dancing." pic.twitter.com/qweh4X95GL— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
10:00 - Whereabouts of alleged attacks mastermind unknown
A major unanswered question of this morning's raid is whether the alleged commander of the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud (photo) was in the apartment at the time of the raid, as media have reported.
Le Figaro newspaper is now reporting that Abaaoud is NOT among the three arrested this morning by counter terrorist officers, from inside the apartment.
The newspaper quotes police sources suggesting it is still possible that Abaaoud could be holed up inside the flat, however this is just speculation.
Up until this morning it was assumed Abaaoud was at his base in Syria from where he allegedly ordered and organised the attacks on Paris.
09:49 - Residents talk of their shock
The Local's Oliver Gee is up at Saint-Denis, just on the northern edge of Paris. He has been speaking to residents among the crowd of onlookers up there.
Mohamed, 20, student, lives 50 meters from the scene.
"I'm shocked. This is my town. There are so many innocent people here. Friday's attacks were a tragedy but this hits very close to home because I live here. This is my home. This is so far from normal for us we've never seen anything like it."
"I heard the big bang at 6am and a friend called me soon after and said there's been an explosion near the church. I turned on the tv immediately and saw the soldiers, the army. It's shocking".
Another man in his 20s said:
"We have been standing here since the first explosions. Everyone is shocked. It was so loud, so intense. We eat here. We go dancing here. Everyone is afraid."
09:39 - What has been confirmed so far
The Paris prosecutor has confirmed several facts from this mornings raid.
- The raid began at 4.20am
- A woman holed up in the apartment blew herself up at the beginning of the assault by detonating her suicide vest. She dies instantly.
- Three men, who were in the apartment were taken out by counter-terror officers and are being held by police. Identities remain unknown at this point.
- A man and a woman who were close to the apartment were also arrested.
09: 33 - Saint-Denis in lock down
Needless to say there are soldiers and police everywhere in Saint Denis. Several roads have been cordoned off around the street where the stand-off is taking place.
The Metro line 13 is not stopping at Saint-Denis this morning due to the ongoing operation. RER trains are apparently still running and stopping at Saint-Denis station, which also serves the Stade de France which was targeted by suicide bombers on Friday night.
The Local's Oliver Gee is there and describes how many residents in the area are actually standing at the polcie cordons watching what is going on.
That's despite police and the prefecture of Saint-Denis, urging people to stay indoors.
Plenty of onlookers in central Saint Denis. Many unsure of what's happening. pic.twitter.com/W2HEwHcyc2— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
Soldiers on every corner on Rue de la Republique in Saint Denis after this mornings shootings. pic.twitter.com/8VdDryJhxH— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) November 18, 2015
09:29 - Counter-terror officers search building
Counter-terror elite forces are apparently searching the apartment block where the stand-off is taking place. They fear it may be booby trapped, reports say.
09:18 - Reports that five have been arrested now
According to the latest reports, the explosion heard at the beginning of the police raid at 4.30am was the woman jihadist who blew herself up by detonating her suicide belt.
Then it is believed two people were seized by police immediately and in close vicinity to the apartment.
Since then three more have been arrested, including the man who owns the apartment and rented it out to the terror suspects.
It is believed there is still at least one terrorist holed up inside the apartment.
But all is calm at the moment.
Police have closed off several streets in central Saint Denis. Police still everywhere. pic.twitter.com/iKR54BJ6Jt— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) November 18, 2015
Bystanders flock. "I could hear the bullets for ages but couldn't figure out exactly where they were coming from." pic.twitter.com/K4vcdzenPy— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) November 18, 2015
09:14 - Shots and explosions heard on news report
Shots and explosions can be heard clearly throughout a report from BFMTV earlier this morning at 4.30am
09:09 - Witness: "I awoke to explosions'
A woman named Sabrine has told BFMTV:
"I awoke to an explosion. After that I heard gun shots and there was lots of shooting. The terrorists were fighting at the police and the police were firing back.
"There were shots, explosions. We didn’t know where to go. My son and I were in panic. There was dust falling from the ceiling because of the explosions. I kept shouting ‘If you’re from the police, please help me. I’m here with my baby.’
"But they kept shooting and shooting."
09:07 - At least one suspected terrorist still holed up in apartment
Latest reports say that there is at least one person, perhaps two still holed up in the apartment on Rue Corbillon in Saint-Denis
09:00 - Here's a recap of what has taken place on Wednesday morning from AFP
Two suspected jihadists were killed, including a woman who blew herself up, in a shootout Wednesday in north Paris with police hunting the mastermind of last week's attacks on the French capital, sources said.
As troops patrolled the streets, heavily-armed police swapped gunfire with people holed up in an apartment in the suburb of Saint-Denis, police sources said.
Two people in the apartment were killed, including a woman who blew herself up, and a third was still inside, and at least three police were injured, they said.
Two arrests were made.
The operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of Friday's deadly attacks in Paris, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who has been active with the Islamic State group in Syria, the source said.
The raid began before dawn, at around 04:30 am (0330 GMT), on an apartment at the crossroads of Rue de la Republique and Rue Corbillon.
The area is home to the Stade de France, one of several places hit by gunmen and suicide bombers on Friday in the worst ever attack on French soil, which was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
The coordinated assaults killed 129 people and injured more than 350, some of them critically.
A local resident who identified herself as Alexia told AFP she heard shots, "'booms like grenades and then intermittent bursts" of gunfire".
"I heard bursts of machine gun fire," said Reda, a taxi driver. "I got out (of the car), masked policemen stopped us and told us to leave."
The raid came as Europe was placed on high alert after footage from the scene of one of Friday's attacks revealed a ninth suspect may have taken part.
It was not clear if this ninth man was one of two suspected accomplices detained in Belgium or was on the run, potentially with 26-year-old fugitive Frenchman Salah Abdeslam who took part in the attacks with his suicide-bomber brother Brahim.
08: 57 - Operation ongoing
The Paris prosecutor has confirmed that the police assault is still ongoing. The scene in the town centre is far more calm that at 7.30am when explosions were heard or even at 4.30 when the sound of gunshots rang out for up to an hour.
08:51 - Owner of apartment asked by friend 'to let two Belgians stay'
The owner of the apartment at the centre of the stand-off has been arrested. But he told BFM TV that he was asked by a friend to rent the apartment on Rue Corbillon, to two people from Belgium for a few days.
"I said there was no mattresses in the apartment and they said 'it doesn't matter'. They just wanted water and a place to pray. My friend told me they came from Belgium. They asked for a service and I provided it. I had no idea they were terrorists."
The man was then handcuffed and led away by police.
08:41 The scene in Saint-Denis
Two photos from Saint-Denis this morning give a good idea of the large number of police and soldiers involved in the operations. Further down is a map showing the exact location of this morning's raid, on the corner of rue de la République and rue du Corbillon.
Photos: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
08:37 - Scene calm at the moment
After explosions were heard at 7.30am, an element of calm has returned to the town centre of Saint-Denis. While the justice minister has said the operation is over, there were earlier reports that a third terrorist was still holed up in an apartment.
08:33 - Three arrests, according to latest reports
BFM TV are now reporting three people have been arrested in this morning's raid. Those arrests have not been confirmed by police.
Most media continuing to report two dead jihadists, one killed by a sniper and another woman who blew herself up.
08:27 - Residents warned to close windows and shutters
Residents in the Saint-Denis area are being told by police to close windows and shutters. They have been not go outside under any circumstances.
For anyone unfamiliar with Saint-Denis, here's a map of the town, which is just north of central Paris.
08:22 - What we know about terror mastermind
This morning's terror raid is apparently targeting the alleged mastermind of Friday's attacks.
Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, was a schoolyard bully.
08:20 - Hollande, PM and Interior Minister watching
The French president is at the Elysée watching the events unfold alongside his PM Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
08:17 - Two arrests made, sources say
Police sources have told local media that two people have been arrested in this morning's raid to target the alleged mastermind of Friday's terror attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
08:13 - Justice Minister says operation has terminated
Christian Taubira, France's Justice Minister has told Europe1 radio that she believes the police operation in Saint-Denis is over.
08:11 - Police reminder that operations ongoing
TV images from Saint-Denis, show army, police, fire fighters and specialist counter-terror officers all over the area. The location has been sealed off and residents have been told to stay at home. Schools in the area have been closed.
[INFO] Opération #RAID toujours en cours merci de respecter les consignes— Police Nationale (@PNationale) November 18, 2015
08:01: Woman has reportedly blown herself up
Reports about what is happening are coming in thick and fast but all are unconfirmed. BFM TV now reporting that a woman has blown herself up at the apartment and a second terrorist was shot dead by a police sniper.
Le Parisien also reporting that a woman holed up in the apartment has blown herself up and a second terrorist is dead.
Identities are unknown
There is still one terrorist holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis.
07:58 Shots heard in video from earlier this morning
On this video, taken by a member of the public and circulated by TV channel BFMTV, shots can be heard ringing out over Saint-Denis this morning.
07:47 - Army has arrived on the scene
At least three army trucks full of soldiers has arrived on the scene where the raid is taking place to target presumed mastermind of terror plot.
07:45 - Explosions heard
Reports of numerous explosions from around the area where the police raid is taking place, unsure whether bombs or or explosions linked to counter-terror operation.
07:30 - At least one killed
At least one person was killed in an apartment targeted by a police raid Wednesday in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis following the bloody attacks on Paris, according to a source close to the operation.
The source did not identify the casualty. Earlier, a source said the operation aimed at the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and police had been wounded in the shootout.
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