UPDATE: Paris massacre suspects killed in dramatic hostage raids - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Paris massacre suspects killed in dramatic hostage raids

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BY CASSANDRA VINOGRAD, NANCY ING, ALASTAIR JAMIESON AND ED KIERNAN, NBC News

DAMMARTIN-EN-GOELE, France — Ending a seven-hour hostage siege, French security forces stormed a printing factory outside Paris on Friday and killed the two brothers suspected in the massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Almost simultaneously, police raided a kosher supermarket in the capital itself and killed a gunman who took hostages there, said Agnes Thibeaut, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor.

Two police sources told NBC News that a hostage was freed at the printing factory. At the market, photos showed several people being shepherded to safety by law enforcement, but it was not clear how many hostages were had been held there and how many had escaped.

The two brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, were suspected of slaughtering 12 people at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that has mocked Islam, on Wednesday in the worst terror attack in France in decades.

The suspect at the kosher market was identified as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, and authorities said he was connected to the Kouachi brothers, although they did not immediately say how.

French authorities were still looking for Hayat Boumeddiene, a woman believed to be his accomplice, who was described as armed and dangerous. Coulibaly and Boumeddiene are suspected in the killing on Thursday of a policewoman in Paris.

Explosions and gunfire rang out in both places — at the printing factory in the countryside town of Dammartin-en-Goele and at the kosher market in Paris — in what the French hoped was a conclusion to the spasm of terror that has gripped France for more than two days.

In a speech to the country, President Francois Hollande thanked the security forces for their professionalism. He said that the threat of terrorism was not over, but he said France had overcome its challenge.

"We are free when we are not afraid," he said. "We carry an idea that is bigger than ourselves, and we are able to defend it everywhere where peace is threatened."

He cautioned against racism and called for a national march of unity on Sunday. He described the hostage siege at the kosher market as "a terrible anti-Semitic act."

U.S. officials have said that Said Kouachi, 34, trained with al Qaeda in Yemen several years ago, and his younger brother was convicted on a terrorism charge in 2008. They had been on the run since speeding away from the magazine's offices after the attack on Wednesday.

They were spotted police driving in Dammartin-en-Goele, about 20 miles outside the capital, at about 9:30 a.m. local time, or 3:30 a.m. ET. A gunfight broke out, and the brothers apparently holed up in the nearest building they could find, a family-owned printing business.

Yves Albarello, a French lawmaker, was quoted by the French TV station i-Tele as saying that the Kouachi brothers had told police they wanted to "die as martyrs." The report could not be confirmed by NBC News.

Hours later came word of a second siege at the kosher market. It was not clear how many people were inside, but Thibeaut, the prosecutor's spokeswoman, suggested there were many because it was the morning before the Jewish Sabbath, which begins Friday night.

Many ambulances were outside the market, and police asked all businesses nearby to close.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed police official, reported that the gunman had been holding at least five people and had threatened to kill them if police stormed the printing plant 25 miles away.

Authorities locked down schools near Dammartin-en-Goele. At one, the Lycee Charles de Gaulle, about 500 students were being kept inside.

"We are all scared," one student, Angelina Monzili, 16, told NBC News. "We came to school expecting a normal day. We were told that the terrorists are really close. Our families are worried about us. We saw police cars flying past, and ambulances."

People who live in the area were to told to stay away from windows, turn off lights and stay indoors. "It's basically a war zone in Dammartin-en-Goele," one witness told BFM TV.

Nearly 100,000 security personnel were on alert across France as the twin dramas played out.

Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport told NBC News that some aircraft coming into land had been redirected to its southern two runways, which are further away from Dammartin-en-Goele. "The town is a little bit too close to the airport," a spokesman said.

In the tense hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack, profiles began to emerge of the Kouachi brothers, who were known to French and American counterterrorism officials.

Two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News that Said Kouachi, 34, traveled to Yemen in 2011 to be trained by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is considered the most violent branch of the terror network.

Cherif Kouachi, 32, was sentenced to prison in 2008 after a Paris court found him and six other men guilty of helping funnel fighters to Iraq. A Homeland Security official told NBC News that the brothers had been on the U.S. no-fly list "for years."

On Thursday, elite anti-terrorist forces converged on several villages after two masked robbers with machine guns matching the Kouachi brothers' description held up a gas station in Villers-Cotteret, France.

Charlie Hebdo's offices had been firebombed in the past after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The publication's chief editor — who was known as Charb — was an outspoken supporter of free speech who had reportedly been put on an al Qaeda hit list. He was among those slain.


NBC News' Alexander Smith, Nikolai Miller, Jason Cumming, Richard Engel, Robert Windrem and Pete Williams, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Nancy Ing reported from Paris. Alastair Jamieson reported from London.



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