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Two suspected terrorists dead, seven arrests in police raid on apartment in Saint-Denis, Paris

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By Euronews
Two suspected terrorists dead, seven arrests in police raid on apartment in Saint-Denis, Paris

French special forces are conducting an operation in St Denis north of Paris.

Officers are said to have surrounded an apartment where up to five people have barricaded themselves in.

Three people – a passer-by, a suicide bomber and another suspect – are reported to have died.

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Sources said that the target of the raid was the suspected mastermind of Friday’s attacks that killed 129, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. At least one of the attackers Salah Abdelslam could also have been in the apartment, local media report.

The confrontation began at around 4:20am local time when police seem to have exchanged fire with a woman who subsequently detonated a suicide belt.

With residents of the apartment block in central Saint Denis trapped in their homes, a siege ensued during which a police sniper apparently managed to take out another suspect.

Three further suspects are thought to have been arrested, while at least one remains at large.

Schools in the area have been closed and public transport shut down.

Here is a timeline of the events which began this morning, Wednesday 18th November, in northern Paris.

Approximately 04H20
Elite police special units launch a raid on an apartment in the Saint Denis suburb which is located 9.4 km directly north of the centre of Paris and roughly 20 minutes’ walk from the national Stade de France sport stadium. Soldiers and helicopters are on standby.

There is fierce resistance, an exchange of gunfire and several explosions. It is believed that up to four people are inside.

Fire services arrive at the location, where rue de la République and rue Corbillon intersect.

The firefight resumes. Only police, military and medical emergency service personnel are allowed in the immediate vicinity. Metro, tram and bus service to Saint Denis are suspended.

A source close to events reports that two police officers have been injured in the assault.

A police source says the assault target is the presumed commander of the Nov. 13th terrorist attacks, Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

A source close to events reports that at least one person inside the apartment is dead.

The prefecture announces that no schools in Saint Denis will open.

Strong explosions are heard, and intense gunfire.

The prefecture recommends that residents not come out of their homes.

Police announce that two of the suspects in the apartment are dead, one of them a woman who detonated an explosive device. Three police officers are injured by now. One suspect remains alive inside.

Around four dozen soldiers are deployed in Saint Denis.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve join President François Hollande in his office at the Elysée palace.

A source in the judiciary announces that three suspects are in custody.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirms the death of the woman suspect, saying she activated her own explosive vest at the start of the assault.

The Paris prosecutor’s office says five arrests have been made — three men who were in the apartment, and one man and one woman who were in the immediate proximity.

Members of Hollande’s cabinet begin arriving at the Elysée for a meeting; it will go ahead while the police operation continues.