Several detained in French hunt for Charlie Hebdo attackers | News | DW | 08.01.2015
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Several detained in French hunt for Charlie Hebdo attackers

French media have said authorities have detained seven people with links to two main suspects in a deadly attack on a satirical magazine. France is holding a day of mourning as police continue their hunt.

French police have 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 on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told broadcaster RTL on Thursday.

Media reports said 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 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 have so far been laid.

Cherif Kouachi, 32, is a 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.

Grieving France

French President Francois Hollande declared Thursday a day of national mourning following the attack, with a "moment of contemplation" planned for 1100 UTC and a ceremony at the National Assembly also scheduled, an official statement said. in which

In Wednesday's attack, two masked gunmen stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris during an editorial meeting, killing eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor.

Witnesses said the two men called out "Allahu akbar!" ("God is Great") as they fired, while a video shot from a nearby building recorded one of them as shouting "Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hedbo" in French.

The magazine was known for its irreverent approach to many issues, including religion, and became the target of a firebomb attack in 2011 after publishing images that some considered disrespectful to Islam.

Another shooting

Amid heightened tensions in the capital, another shooting was reported in the south of Paris early on Thursday morning in which two people were injured, including a policewoman. A few hours later, the policewoman was reported to have died of her injuries. It was not immediately clear whether there was any link to Wednesday's magazine attack.

Police said the shooter was still on the run.

tj/rc (dpa, AP, AFP)

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