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LATEST: Explosions and gunfire

AFP reported that the Charlie Hebdo suspects, Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi have been killed and the hostage is free. The brothers came out firing at the security forces before being killed. Update: Police confirmed to BBC that Kouachi brothers were killed. And the hostages from the kosher supermarket siege in Porte de Vincennes have been freed. According to The Telegraph, Amedy Coulibaly (the suspect who was thought to have shot dead a policewoman and took up to six people hostage at a kosher supermarket in

east Paris) has been killed. Update: The woman with Coulibaly, Hayat Boumeddiene, is his girlfriend and CNN reported that the female suspect managed to escape as hostages ran. Coulibaly was said to have been killed when the store was raided by police. Four hostages were killed in the kosher supermarket siege, French police announced. Two police officers were injured while freeing the hostages, and four are critically wounded.

This came after heavy gunfire and explosions were heard in Dammartin-en-Goele, where Said and Cheif Kouachi held a woman hostage, and five loud explosions at the kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes.

Picture of French police special forces escorting hostages out of the kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes. -- Photo by BBC

Picture of French police special forces escorting hostages out of the kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes. — Photo by BBC

More hostages were evacuated after the French police special forces launched the assault. -- Photo by AFP

More hostages were evacuated after the French police special forces launched the assault. — Photo by AFP


Making a demand

The gunmen, who held about five hostages in a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, have reportedly demanded for the release of the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack — Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi. The Kouachi brothers are in the midst of a tense stand-off with police in Dammartin-en-Goele. And according to Channel 4 News, a woman in the Vincennes grocery siege called her daughter.


Another shooting

New shooting has occurred in eastern Paris, where armed men has taken up to five hostages in a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes. A picture of suspects, Amedy Coulibaly and a woman Hayat Boumeddiene, has been published by French media.

A police officer at the scene said a gunman – believed to be Coulibaly, who shot dead the policewoman, Clarissa Jean-Philippe – murdered two people after entering the supermarket. Jean-Philippe was killed when she responded to a traffic accident while on patrol as a municipal police officer in the suburb of Montrouge.

Police preparing for assault

Reports from journalists in the area say police are preparing to storm the building. Medical teams and special forces have arrived on scene ahead of the assault. Update: Photos have appeared on social media showing scores of police officers making their way towards the building.

An image from EPA showing police officers preparing for an assault on the building where the two suspects are holding a hostage.

An image from EPA showing police officers preparing for an assault on the building where the two suspects are holding a hostage.

 

Suspects cornered by French police, holding hostage

French police have surrounded the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre — Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34 — in a building near Paris’ main airport. The operation to apprehend the suspects in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Charles de Gaulle airport, has reportedly seen one fatality during a shootout with the suspects, though authorities have yet to confirm this. UPDATE: A prosecutor in Paris has denied this, according to the BBC.

Police officers creating a security zone around the industrial area in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the two suspects are currently holding at least one hostage. -- Photo by EPA

Police officers creating a security zone around the industrial area in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the two suspects are currently holding at least one hostage. — Photo by EPA

A helicopter flying over the building where the suspects are. -- Photo by EPA

A helicopter flying over the building where the suspects are. — Photo by EPA

The suspects are reportedly holding at least one hostage inside a building at an industrial complex. According to The Telegraph, this is where the building is: Update: According to the Telegraph, there are unconfirmed reports that the hostage is a woman, and that the suspects entered the building pretending to be policemen.

 

Police earlier had pursued them on a dramatic car chase, during which shots were fired. According to The Guardian, police have completely sealed off Dammartin-en-Goele. Authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport have reportedly closed the northern runway and diverted a number of flights due to the standoff.


Hamyd’s classmates protest

Hamyd Mourad’s classmates protested his innocence and said he was in class when the attack happened. They took to twitter with the hashtag #MouradHamydInnocent, claiming he has an alibi. Mourad remains in custody. He surrendered himself after seeing his name on the news. French Interior Ministry said nine people, who are believed to be linked to the attack, have been detained.

Training in Yemen

US and French intelligence believe that in 2011, Said Kouachi, one of the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shooting, spent a few months in Yemen to train with militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda. A senior US intelligence official said Said and the other suspect, his brother Cherif — have been on the US no-fly list for a few years now US officials deemed them as potential terror suspects.

Major operation in Picardy

A major operation has been launched in a large area of woodland located in the region of Picardy, which is about 80km north-east of Paris. BBC reported that a man, who was passing through the village, was told the suspects may be in the forest. According to hotel worker Benoit Verdun, the forest is “bigger than Paris”. Search teams are also in the nearby towns of Villers-Cotterets, Longpont and Corcy.

In darkness

The iconic Eiffel Tower dimmed its lights at 8pm local time (3am in Malaysia) in tribute to those killed in the terror attack.

Paris' Eiffel Tower plunged into darkness at 8pm local time in honour of the victims. -- Photo by AFP

Paris’ Eiffel Tower plunged into darkness at 8pm local time in honour of the victims. — Photo by AFP

Watch it here:

Security alert

French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve said that security across Paris has been increased with police mobilised around media outlet headquarters, places of worship and religious schools, stations, schools, diplomatic representations and tourist sites. Transport security has been stepped up too. Besides Paris, a security alert in the northern region of Picardie was raised to its highest level by The French Prime Minister’s office, The Matignon.

More Twitter hashtags

#JeSuisCharlie It translates as “I Am Charlie”. #JeSuisCharlie is the top trend with 2.8m tweets. #JeNeSuisPasCharlie It translates as “I Am Not Charlie”. People are using it to distant themselves from the controversial. #JeSuisAhmed It translates as “I am Ahmed” and was mentioned more than 40,000 times on Twitter. A French magazine publisher, Julien Casters was the first to tweet the hashtag. He told BBC: “I decided to start the #jesuisahmed hashtag to remember that a French Muslim was also a victim of the attack.” “It is a snub to the stigmatisation of Islam and a reminder that Muslims in France are not all Islamist radicals. It seemed important to try to unite two years before the presidential elections in France, since the only ones to benefit from these terrorist acts are the extreme right political parties. “I only wanted to share my opinion and my state of mind with my close friends and followers … it seems that many people share my beliefs and did what’s necessary to relay it to the masses.” #RespectforMuslims The hashtag was reportedly the second most popular trend on Twitter one day after the shootings in Paris. The hashtag is used to disassociate oneself from the acts of the criminals, who don’t represent Islam in general.

Brother of police officer pays tribute

Franck Brinsolaro’s brother, Philippe said: “My thoughts are with my brother of course, with all of my family. Now it’s up to us to be strong. But if there’s one thing which is remarkable, it’s the sense that the police are sometimes misunderstood by the public. But we mustn’t forget that what happened yesterday, whatever may happen next, a police officer, whenever it’s needed will put him or herself in harm’s way when the security of the country is at stake. And today I want to pay tribute to all of my colleagues, to all those who get up every day to do a difficult job.” Franck is the bodyguard of editor and chief of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier after he received death threats for the controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

The two who got away

In northern France, the two suspects, Cherif and Said Kouachi, have reportedly robbed a service station, where they stole food and petrol, and fired shots. French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve said the three gunmen attacked the Charlie Hebdo office and fled the scene in a stolen Citroen C3. They abandoned the Citroen and hijacked another car to escape. French investigators found jihadist flags and molotov cocktails in the abandoned Citroen. BBC reported that the brothers drove off, heading to Paris in a Renault Clio car, the same one they hijacked after the attack. Armed police are guarding the main roads into the capital with military helicopters monitoring from above.

This picture, which was taken yesterday, shows a truck towing the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by three gunmen who attacked the office of French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. - Photo by AFP.

This picture, which was taken yesterday, shows a truck towing the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by the three gunmen. They abandoned this car three kilometers north of the initial attack before hijacking another. — Photo by AFP

 

A minute of silence

The minute’s silence was observed in the whole of France at 12pm local time (7pm in Malaysia). Parisians gathered outside Notre Dame Cathedral and held hands before ending the silence with applause to commemorate the lives of the victims. The bells of Notre Dame rang for 10 minutes.

People in Paris stood in front of Notre Dame Cathedral when France observed a minute of silence today in honour of the 12 people killed. - Photo by AFP

People in Paris stood in front of Notre Dame Cathedral when France observed a minute of silence today in honour of the 12 people killed. – Photo by AFP

European Parliament members in Brussels also observed a moment of silence. The official twitter account for Paris tweeted that lights at the Eiffel Tower will be switched off at 8pm local time (3am in Malaysia).

In the UK, police forces – Gwent, South Wales, North Wales, Dyfed-Powys as well as Scotland Yard – showed their support by holding a minute’s silence.

#JeSuisCharlie is trending worldwide.

In a show of solidarity, Twitter users around the world have been tweeting with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie. “Je Suis Charlie” translates as “I Am Charlie”. According to The Huffington Post, the slogan and logo were created immediately and spontaneously by artistic director and music journalist for Stylist magazine, Joachim Roncin. He published them less than an hour after the shooting because he was “lost for words”, as mentioned during a Twitter exchange with French journalist, Valerie Nataf.

In an interview with newspaper outlet Le Progrès, he said the idea came to him because he reads the French version of Where’s Waldo, entitled Where’s Charlie, with his son. Here are some tweets bearing the hashtag, as well as a few others without it.








What we now know

Twelve people were killed and 11 wounded, with four in serious condition, when three masked gunmen stormed into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday. Two police officers and the publication’s editors and cartoonists were among those killed. Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly newspaper that is known for lampooning Islam and other religions. What happened The gunmen, who wore ski masks, were armed with kalashnikovs. They fled the scene in a hijacked car.


Following the attack, anti-terror police conducted a late-night raid for the suspects of the massacre. They are brothers, Cherif, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, (who are still on the loose) and Hamyd Mourad, 18, who surrendered to the police yesterday.


The police managed to identify them because Said Kouachi left his identity card in an abandoned getaway car. Political leaders’ response French president, François Hollande was at the crime scene when he declared the attack an act of terrorism to undermine France’s idea of freedom of speech. He also called the shootings “an act of exceptional barbarism”, according to TIME. “This was an operation by terrorists against a newspaper that has been threatened several times,” he added.

France today received a shock. A newspaper means free speech for journalists.” — François Hollande

United States president, Barack Obama expressed his sympathies and criticised the attack during an Oval Office meeting with vice president Joe Biden and Secretary Of State John Kerry. “For us to see the kind of cowardly, evil attacks that took place today, I think reinforces once again why it’s so important for us to stand in solidarity with them just as they stand in solidarity with us,” he said, after describing France as one of the US’s “oldest” and “strongest” allies.

The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press, also underscores that these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press. — Barack Obama

“But the one thing that I’m very confident about is the values we share with the French people, a belief, a universal belief in the freedom of expression is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few,” he said.

Watch Obama’s reaction here:

United Kingdom prime minister, David Cameron, said UK won’t give up on the values of freedom of speech. “There is no one single answer to these appalling terrorist attacks. We have to all be vigilant. We have to try to address all the problems of radicalisation that have happened in our country,” Cameron said. “But as we do all these things, we must be very clear about one thing, which is we should never give up the values that we believe in and defend as part of our democracy and civilisation and believing in a free press, in freedom of expression, in the right of people to write and say what they believe. “These are the things we are defending. We should be very clear on this day that these values that we have are not sources of weakness for us, they are sources of strength.” The victims Here’s the list… Frédéric Boisseau, maintenance worker Franck Brinsolaro, 49-year-old brigadier in the protection service. He is Charbonnier’s bodyguard after receiving death threats for the controversial Prophet Muhammad cartoons. Jean Cabut, 76, cartoonists and caricaturists Elsa Cayat, analyst and columnist Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47, editor and chief of Charlie Hebdo Philippe Honoré, cartoonist Bernard Maris, 68, economist, shareholder in Charlie Hebdo and columnist, who wrote under the moniker “Uncle Bernard” Ahmed Merabet, 42, police officer. He was patrolling the neighborhood when he met the gunmen outside Charlie Hebdo building Mustapha Ourrad, copy editor Michel Renaud, founder of art festival, Rendez-vous de Carnet de Voyage, who was visiting the office Bernard “Tignou”‘ Verlhac, 58, cartoonist Georges Wolinksi, 80, cartoonist A nation mourns Hollande declared Thursday, Jan 8, a national day of mourning in France.

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