Breaking Overnight – Suspects pinned down in an apartment in Saint-Denis suburb. 12:30am At least one policeman has been injured in a shootout with alleged terrorism suspects in Paris, during a pre-dawn police raid in the northern suburb of St-Denis. 1:00am Daily Mail reporting “several police hurt“.
The nature of the injuries are not known, and French police would confirm only that an operation was underway in the suburb. Several large explosions. One report of female suicide bomber who detonated herself.
1:20am Citing police sources, French news channel BFMTV said the main target of the police operation in St-Denis was the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, (believed to have been in Syria but now apparently in France) the police believe they have him pinned down in the apartment.
The other two men in holed up with him in the apartment block were believed to be Salah Abdeslam, the subject of a major manhunt since Saturday, and an unidentified “ninth attacker” sought since Tuesday night..
Video reportedly posted from the scene shows men, with their faces covered, carrying automatic weapons and walking down otherwise deserted streets, lit by streetlights.
The men are not firing, but the sound of continual automatic gunfire can be heard in the background. Didier Paillard, the mayor of St-Denis, said about 6am he could still hear exchanges of fire. “It has not stopped since 4:30,” he said.
The police raid is believed to be linked to the hunt for the so-called “ninth attacker” – a jihadi whose involvement in Friday’s terror attacks was previously unknown to investigators before CCTV was found to show the person firing a weapon from a car with other attackers. (read more)
BREAKING OVERNIGHT – Residents of Saint-Denis were awakened by an exchange of gunfire in the middle of the night and people have taken to social media in an attempt to get more information. Some reports citing local police suggest a police raid is underway. People have been advised to stay calm and not leave their homes.
According to Le Parisien reporter Jean Gabriel Bontinck, the sound of gunfire started at around 4:30 am local time and lasted for approximately 15 minutes. On his Twitter, Bontinck assumed the shooting was part of an ongoing police raid.
Unconfirmed reports have linked the police raid to an ongoing manhunt for one of the suspects in the Paris terrorist attacks. The northern Paris suburb of Saint Denis, home of the Stade de France national stadium, has been under scrutiny since terrorists targeted the venue on Saturday. (link)