2 terrorist suspects killed, others held in raid in Saint-Denis, officials say
Saint-Denis, France (CNN)Two terrorist suspects have been killed in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis during an ongoing security operation linked to the deadly attacks that rocked the French capital five days ago, a police source said. The targets of the raid are believed to have included the purported ringleader of the attacks.
• 5:24 a.m. ET: The number of terrorist suspects killed in the raid stands at two, according to the Paris prosecutor's office. A police source had earlier told CNN that three suspects were killed. Seven people have been arrested, including three men who were removed from inside the apartment, the prosecutor's office said.
• 5:24 a.m. ET: The suspects targeted in Saint-Denis were "about to move on some kind of operation," police sources told CNN, saying the raid was "right on time. "
• 4:48 a.m. ET: The operation is still in progress, the French National Police said. Five officers were lightly wounded and a police dog was killed in the raid, according to police.
• 3:07 a.m. ET: A female suspect killed herself at the scene by activating her suicide belt, the prosecutor's office said.
• 2:52 a.m. ET: The police operation is "absolutely not over," said Matthieu Hanotin, a lawmaker for Saint-Denis. He told French radio that police believe that there are still heavily armed terrorists inside the building. French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira had earlier suggested the raid was "coming to an end."
• 2:16 a.m. ET: One of the terrorist suspects killed was shot by a police sniper, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. A civilian passerby was killed during the operation, the broadcaster said.
• 2:08 a.m. ET: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks, is one of the potential targets of the operation, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN. The official cautioned that French and Belgian authorities weren't certain that Abaaoud was at the location when they launched the raid in search of high priority targets.
• 1:32 a.m. ET: A series of explosions is heard in the area. The cause of the blasts wasn't immediately clear.
• Police and soldiers have cordoned off the zone and all public transportation in the area has been halted. Residents have been warned to stay inside.
Paris (CNN)[Breaking news update, posted at 12:44 a.m. ET]
A number of suspects have been cornered in a building in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, the mayor of Saint-Denis, Didier Paillard, said in an interview on CNN affiliate BFM-TV early Wednesday.
[Previous story, published at 12:34 a.m ET]
Witnesses have reported gunfire amid a police raid in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis as authorities hunt for two suspects from Friday's deadly terrorist attacks who are believed to be at large.
Police blocked off roads early Wednesday in Saint-Denis, which is home to the Stade de France sports stadium where three suicide bombings took place Friday.
CNN affiliate BFMTV reported that police officers have been wounded by gunfire during a raid seeking one of the suspects in the wave of violence across Paris, which killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.
French police wouldn't comment on whether any officers had been shot in the Saint-Denis operation.
BFMTV reported that the police raid was linked to the hunt for the so-called "ninth suspect," who may appear in a video recorded by a witness to the attacks.
Police have been analyzing the video, which shows two gunmen inside a black car linked to the attacks and perhaps a third individual driving the car, French media reported.
Seven of the attackers were killed during the wave of violence Friday night, and an international arrest warrant is already out for one suspect, Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old Frenchman. The identity of the possible ninth suspect is unknown.
Brother urges suspect to surrender
Abdeslam's older brother has urged the suspect, who was last seen driving toward the Belgian border hours after the attacks, to turn himself over to authorities.
"I would tell him to surrender. That's the best solution," Mohamed Abdeslam told CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday. "But of course, if he has something to do with it, he must accept responsibility."
In their push to unravel the attack plot and the suspected network behind it, counterterrorism and intelligence officials say investigators have uncovered a clue that could be a big break: cell phones believed to belong to the attackers.
According to the officials, one of the phones contained a message, sent sometime before the attacks began, to the effect of: OK, we're ready.
"It points to a sort of organization," CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said, "an attempt to try to synchronize what was going down."
But cracking into their communication won't be easy.
Investigators have found encrypted apps on the phones, which appear to have left no trace of messages or any indication of who would have been receiving them, according to officials briefed on the French investigation.
Mohamed Abdeslam said the last time he saw his brothers was about a week ago.
"They left without saying goodbye," he said.
Now one of them is a wanted fugitive. And authorities say another Abdeslam brother, Ibrahim, 31, was among the seven terrorists who either killed themselves or were killed by police in a series of coordinated attacks across the French capital on Friday night that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.
Mohamed Abdeslam told CNN that before the attacks, he'd noticed his brothers changing and adopting more radical views. He suspects the Internet could have played a role. But he said his family was shocked by the attack, and had no idea what they were planning.
"My brother who participated in this terrorist act must have been psychologically ready to commit such an act. These are not regular people," he said. "You cannot have the slightest doubt that they have been prepared, that they must not leave any trace which would cause suspicion that they might do such things. And even if you saw them every day, their behavior was quite normal."