Charlie Hebdo suspects killed as siege ends

Police say operation against two brothers suspected to be behind magazine attack is over after gunfire heard on site.

Officers said the operation began after witnesses sighted the two men said to be responsible for the attack [AFP]

French media reports that both brothers suspected to be involved in Wednesday’s attack on a satirical newspaper have been killed in a police operation at Dammartin-en-Goele, the hostage they had taken survived.

The alleged attackers – brothers identified as 32-year-old Said Kouachi and 34-year-old Cherif Kouachi – had been cornered by police inside a printing house with a hostage in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris. 

French security forces had earlier poured into the small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle international airport after the suspects hijacked a car early on Friday in a nearby town.

The two brothers had reportedly told police that they “want to die as martyrs”.

Meanwhile, an armed man who had taken several people hostage at a kosher grocery store in Porte De Vincennes, and reportedly threatened to kill the hostages if police launched an assault on the Kouachi brothers, has also been killed in a police raid.

French President Francois Hollande held a meeting with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Friday amid the police operations.


Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport closed two runways to arrivals amid the police operation in Dammartin-en-Goele town close to the airport.

But an airport spokesman said the flight diversions are not affecting schedules.

Heavily armed anti-terrorism police had swooped on residential areas of the town in an extensive manhunt for two brothers suspected of being behind killing at the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo .

Police say the brothers are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents.

In a news conference on Thursday, the interior minister said the younger brother was known to French security forces, adding that he had had links to al-Qaeda in 2004 and 2005.

He added that Said Kouachi had been under security survellience.

Police also said that the fatal shooting of a policewoman in Montrouge, south of Paris, on Thursday was linked to Wednesday’s shooting at the newspaper’s office.

Another city employee was also seriously wounded in that shooting by a man wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a handgun and automatic rifile.

2012 interview with Charlie Hebdo’s Stephane Charbonnier who died in the attack

Suspect jailed before

Earlier, police said that Kouachi was imprisoned for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq to fight for armed groups.

Nine people have been detained in relation to the investigation, Cazeneuve also said. 

Four cartoonists working with the publication, including the editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as “Charb”, were among the dead. The other cartoonists killed were known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski.

Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of Islam, including the Prophet Muhammad, had drawn condemnation and threats before. It was firebombed in 2011 – although it also satirised other religions as well as political figures.

Wednesday’s attack triggered global outrage and condemnation.

Hollande said it was a “terrorist act of exceptional barbarism”, adding that other attacks have been thwarted in France in recent weeks.

Analysis from our correspondent: Jacky Rowland

 Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland

French police are very carefully managing the flow of information in relation to these attacks. They release, or leak, information to French media, notably the AFP news agency and 24-hour news TV channels, BFMTV and iTELE.

The timing of what they release is also significant. They announced the alleged “link” between the Charlie Hebdo suspects and the Montrouge/supermarket suspects only once they had the former surrounded in Dammartin.

They may have not wanted to reveal this “link” while the Charlie Hebdo suspects were still at large for fear of spreading panic among the public.

The police also delayed the publication of names/photos of the other suspects. Demonstrates a desire by the interior ministry to control the narrative related by the media.


Helicopters and hundreds of security forces streamed to Dammartin-en-Goele [AFP]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies