A police raid targeting Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a key suspect in last week's attacks, has ended. At least two people were confirmed killed during the anti-terror operation in the French capital.
French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll announced that the police operation in the north of Paris targeting the possible mastermind of the Paris attacks has ended.
The target of the raid was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who comes from the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. It is unclear whether he was at the scene, but there were seven arrests.
Initial findings at the location suggested that suspects targeted by the raid may have been plotting another attack in Paris.
Two dead, several wounded
A woman was killed during the police operation in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis after blowing herself up with explosives during the anti-terror raid, which lasted seven hours. A judicial source said a second person had also died in the raid.
The Associated Press said that up to seven explosions in total had been heard during the overnight raid. Ambulances were seen on the scene as at least three people were wounded during the gunfight, which raged on for several hours.
Reuters news agency reported that the raid had started at an apartment in the Rue de la Republique and involved an elite police unit. At least 50 French soldiers were also deployed to the scene. A helicopter was observed on the scene, as the raid continued to unfold with further gunfire and explosions for several hours.
Suspects holed up in Saint-Denis
Police cordoned off the area around Place Jean Jaures in Saint Denis, not far from the Basilique Cathédrale de Saint-Denis - the Gothic church where the remains of all but three kings of France are interred.
Up to 20,000 locals were told to remain in their homes as suspects involved in the raid were holed up during a stand-off in an apartment for several hours.
The mayor of Saint-Denis said that public transportation would be stopped in the neighborhood, as Parisians woke up to their morning commutes.
French authorities had confirmed that they had been searching for at least two people involved in the November 13 attacks, which had killed at least 129 people as well as 7 terrorists.
Other than the search for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, there has also been a massive manhunt spanning across several European countries in the past few days looking for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, a brother of one of the suicide bombers in Paris. French media had reported on Tuesday night that a ninth person was thought to be involved in Friday's attacks andassumed still at large.
Europe on high alert
Heightened security measures also led totwo Air France flights being diverted
earlier on Tuesday as well as afriendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hanover
being called off last night amid a bomb scare.
A raid involving seven individuals near the German city of Aachen, located along the German-Belgian border, on Tuesday morning failed to yield any results.
ss, ksb/msh (AFP, Reuters, dpa)