The Paris area is undergoing two separate hostage situations in the wake of a brutal attack carried out earlier this week by terrorist gunmen against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.
The first standoff reportedly involves brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who are believed to have carried out the attack on the magazine’s offices earlier this week. They holed up early Friday morning at a small printing facility northeast of Paris in a town called Dammartin-en-Goële, reportedly with one hostage.
The third alleged gunman, 18-year old Hamyd Mourad, turned himself in to authorities after seeing his name on the news in connection with the shooting.
Dammartin-en-Goële has been put on lockdown, with no outside traffic being allowed in and resident being ordered to shelter in place, as law enforcement officials have entered into negotiations with the hostage-takers.
Some 88,000 law enforcement officials across the country have been deployed in the manhunt for the Kouachi brothers, who traded gunfire with police on Friday morning, but did not cause any casualties. Since Dammartin-en-Goële is less than ten miles from Charles de Gaulle Airport, two runways have been closed at air transit hub, although flights are still being allowed in and out.
The second hostage situation kicked off a few hours later at a kosher grocery store in Eastern Paris called Hyper Cacher, located in the Porte de Vincinnes area of the city’s 11th Arrondisement.
Large evacuations. Armed police running through streets. Weapons drawn. Much confusion. pic.twitter.com/5u3HXmjZjE— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) January 9, 2015
Reports indicate that the man in the grocery store has taken at least five people hostage and has exchanged gunfire with police. Agence France-Presse reports that two people have been killed so far.
Law enforcement officials have indicated that at least one of the suspects at the grocery store is the same person who fatally shot a female police officer on the street the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack in the Parisian suburb of Montrouge.
The policewoman’s killers have been identified as 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly and 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene. The International Business Times reports that Coulibaly told police outside the grocery store, “you know who I am and I’m going to keep these hostages until the siege in Dammartin is lifted.”
A police source told Reuters that the gunman was part of the same jihadist group as Cherif and Said Kouachi. Said Kouachi reportedly spent several months of 2011 training in Yemen at a camp operated by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Watch live coverage of the ongoing hostage situations from France 24 below:
Update 11:15am ET, Jan. 9: Reports indicate that the Kouachi brothers have been killed by French police:
FLASH Charlie Hebdo suspects killed: source— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 9, 2015
AP, AFP Le Monde, Channel 4 now all reporting police say Kouachis are dead, hostage safe.— Max J. Rosenthal (@maxjrosenthal) January 9, 2015
In the second hostage situation, at least some of the hostages have reportedly been released:
BREAKING Several hostages freed at Jewish supermarket in Paris: AFP— AFP news agency (@AFP) January 9, 2015
Update 12:04pm ET, Jan. 9: At least four of the hostages at the Jewish supermarket have been killed.
BREAKING: At least four hostages at Kosher supermarket siege in eastern Paris dead: police source http://t.co/aFcQM9dTZ5— Reuters (@Reuters) January 9, 2015
This story is developing.
Photo by Nicolás Boullosa/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)