Lead suspects in Charlie Hebdo shootings ′spotted in northern France′ | News | DW | 08.01.2015
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Lead suspects in Charlie Hebdo shootings 'spotted in northern France'

The two chief suspects in the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo have reportedly been spotted in the north of France. The pair was said to be in a vehicle. Seven people with links to the two have been detained.

A French police official said on Thursday morning that the two main suspects in the attack on the satirical magazine had been seen in northern France. The pair were said to be armed and in a gray Renault Clio, the DPA news agency reported.

A source close to the investigation said a gas station manager near the small town of Vellers-Cotterets said he had recognized the two men suspected of taking part in the attack.

The two men were said to be in hooded and apparently in possession of a "Kalashnikov and rocket launchers."

French police earlier detained a number of people for questioning as they continue their hunt for two brothers suspected of shooting dead 12 people in Wednesday's attack, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told broadcaster RTL on Thursday.

Media outlets reported that seven people with close links with the main suspects - identified by police as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi - were being held for interrogation. According to the AFP news agency, both men and women have been detained.

A third suspect in the killing, whom media identified as Mourad Hamyd, 18, turned himself in to police in the town of Charleville-Mezieres on Wednesday evening after learning he had been linked to the attacks, Paris prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said. She did not specify his relationship to the Kouachi brothers, and no charges were immediately laid.

Cherif Kouachi, 32, is an alleged jihadist who has been well-known to anti-terror police for years, among other things for helping to send fighters to join al Qaeda in Iraq during the US-led invasion in the 2000s. He was sentenced to three years in prison, including an 18-month suspended sentence.

He and his brother Said, 34, who are both French nationals born in Paris, should be considered as "armed and dangerous," French police said on Thursday. Several unconfirmed media reports said that police had found the identity card of at least one of the brothers in their abandoned car.

rc/sms (AFP, AP. Reuters)