NEWS

Paris Gunmen Killed: Brothers Cherif And Said Kouachi Killed In Dammartin-En-Goele, Hostage Freed

01/09/2015 06:06 EST | Updated 01/09/2015 12:59 EST

UPDATE: A security official says the two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo massacre came out firing, prompting the assault on the building where they had holed up with a hostage.

The official was not authorized to speak about the sensitive operations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Officials say the brothers died in the assault.

Another official, police union representative Christophe Crepin, said it appeared that the gunman who took hostages at a kosher market had also died in a nearly simultaneous raid there.

Crepin spoke to LCI televison. -- from The Associated Press

More coming.

DAMMARTIN-EN-GOELE, France -- Two brothers suspected in a newspaper terror attack were cornered inside a printing house northeast of Paris on Friday, taking a hostage and telling police they "want to die as martyrs,'' a lawmaker said.

Security forces streamed into the small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle airport in a massive operation to seize the men suspected of carrying out France's deadliest terror attack in decades. One of the men had been convicted of terrorism charges in 2008, the other had visited Yemen and a U.S. official said both brothers were on the American no-fly list.

Authorities evacuated a nearby school around midday Friday after the suspects agreed by phone to allow the children safe passage, Dammartin-en-Goele spokeswoman Audrey Taupenas told The Associated Press.

"They said they want to die as martyrs,'' Yves Albarello, a local lawmaker who said he was inside the command post, told French television station i-Tele.

The men are believed to be the masked assailants who methodically opened fire on an editorial meeting of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, leaving 12 people dead in central Paris on Wednesday.

As at least three helicopters hovered, Charles de Gaulle closed two runways to arrivals to avoid interfering in the standoff, an airport spokesman said. The town appealed to residents to stay inside.

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Hunt for Charlie Hebdo suspects


The siege in Dammartin-en-Goele unfolded after the suspects hijacked a car early Friday in a nearby town.

Tens of thousands of French security forces have mobilized to prevent a new terror attack since the Wednesday assault on Charlie Hebdo, which decimated the editorial staff, including the chief editor who had been under armed guard after receiving death threats for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. He and his police bodyguard were the first to die, witnesses have said.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi were named as the chief suspects after Said's identity card was left behind in their abandoned getaway car. They were holed up Friday inside CTF Creation Tendance Decouverte, a printing house. Xavier Castaing, the chief Paris police spokesman, and Taupenas. They said there appeared to be one hostage.

Christelle Alleume, who works across the street, said a round of gunfire interrupted her coffee break Friday morning.

"We heard shots and we returned very fast because everyone was afraid,'' she told i-Tele. ``We had orders to turn off the lights and not approach the windows.''

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said both suspects had been known to intelligence services before the attack.

A senior U.S. official said Thursday the elder Kouachi had travelled to Yemen, although it was unclear whether he was there to join extremist groups like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based there. Witnesses said he claimed allegiance to the group during the attack.

The younger brother, Cherif, was convicted of terrorism charges in 2008 for his links to a network sending jihadis to fight American forces in Iraq.

Both were also on the U.S. no-fly list, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said. The American officials also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss foreign intelligence publicly.

Nine people, members of the brothers' entourage, have been detained for questioning in several regions. In all, 90 people, many of them witnesses to the grisly assault on the satirical weekly, were questioned for information on the attackers, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement.

A third suspect, 18-year-old Mourad Hamyd, surrendered at a police station Wednesday evening after hearing his name linked to the attacks. His relationship to the Kouachi brothers was unclear.

The Kouachi brothers, born in Paris to Algerian parents, were well-known to French counterterrorism authorities. Cherif Kouachi, a former pizza deliveryman, had appeared in a 2005 French TV documentary on Islamic extremism and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for trying to join up with fighters battling in Iraq.

Charlie Hebdo had long drawn threats for its depictions of Islam, although it also satirized other religions and political figures. The weekly paper had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, and a sketch of Islamic State's leader was the last tweet sent out by the irreverent newspaper, minutes before the attack. Nothing has been tweeted since.

Eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor were killed in the attack.

Charlie Hebdo planned a special edition next week, produced in the offices of another paper.

Authorities around Europe have warned of the threat posed by the return of Western jihadis trained in warfare. France counts at least 1,200 citizens in the war zone in Syria _ headed there, returned or dead. Both the Islamic State group and al-Qaida have threatened France, home to Western Europe's largest Muslim population.

The French suspect in a deadly 2014 attack on a Jewish museum in Belgium had returned from fighting with extremists in Syria; and the man who rampaged in southern France in 2012, killing three soldiers and four people at a Jewish school, received paramilitary training in Pakistan.