Friday, January 9, 2015

Suspects In Paris Shooting Take Hostage In Northeast Of Paris

Suspects In Paris Shooting Take Hostage

 Two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage Friday as police cornered the gunmen northeast of the capital.

The hostage-taking followed a pursuit along the National 2 highway, ending in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, around 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Charles de Gaulle international airport.
The suspects were holed up in a small printing business named CTD, a source close to the investigation said.

Prior to the standoff, the suspects had hijacked a Peugeot 206 in Montagny-Sainte-Felicite from a woman who said she recognized them as the wanted men, a police source said.
The standoff was close to the same area where special police forces had been combing the countryside for the brothers.
Friday’s drama unfolded almost 48 hours into a massive manhunt launched after the brothers burst into the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and gunned down staff members and two policemen, saying they were taking revenge for the magazine’s publication of cartoons offensive to many Muslims.
The frantic search for the pair suspected of committing the worst atrocity on French soil in more than half a century came as it emerged they had been on a US terror watch list “for years.”
French authorities raised the security alert to the highest possible level in the region of Picardy, to the northeast of Paris, as forces tightened their noose on the brothers, Cherif Kouachi, 32 and Said, 34.
Around 24 hours into the manhunt, the brothers were identified after holding up a gas station 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Paris.
Helicopters buzzed overhead during the night and paramilitary forces were preparing to step up their house-to-house searches.
As heavily armed crack units swarmed through the normally tranquil countryside villages, residents voiced their nervousness.
Meanwhile, questions mounted as to how a pair well known for jihadist views could have slipped through the net and attacked Charlie Hebdo, apparently in revenge for the weekly’s repeated publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad.
Cherif Kouachi was a known jihadist convicted in 2008 for involvement in a network sending fighters to Iraq.
Said, his brother, has been “formally identified” as the main attacker in Wednesday’s bloodbath. Both brothers were born in Paris to Algerian parents.
A senior US administration official told AFP that one of the brothers was believed to have trained with al-Qaeda in Yemen, while another source said that the pair had been on a US terror watch list “for years.”
The brothers were both flagged in a US database as terror suspects, and were also on the no-fly list, meaning they were barred from flying into the United States, the officials said.
The Islamic State group’s radio praised them as “heroes” and Somalia’s Shebab militants, al-Qaeda’s main affiliate in Africa, praised the massacre as a “heroic” act.
In chilling testimony, one witness said a masked gunman burst into the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting screaming “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”), called out “Charb!” — the name of famous cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier — and fired off a hail of bullets at random.
“By chance, I threw myself behind the table and he didn’t see me… a few seconds, and everyone was on the ground,” said journalist Laurent Leger.
Refusing to be cowed, the controversial magazine plans a print run of one million copies — instead of its usual 60,000 — as journalists from all over the French media landscape piled in to help out the decimated staff.
“It’s very hard. We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win,” said columnist Patrick Pelloux.

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