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Wednesday, November 18

Police siege of Paris attack suspects UPDATED 4X, last update 4:22 AM EST

UPDATE 4:22 AM EST
Okay; this is from Sputnik  timestamped 07:05 am 18.11.2015 (updated 11:44 am [local time]:

French Police Kill Three Terror Suspects, Arrest Five in Paris Suburb

At least four policemen sustained wounds during a special operation in the northern Paris suburb Saint Denis conducted over the terror attacks in the capital. Two suspects are reportedly surrounded.

French police special forces have killed three suspected terrorists during a special operation in the Parisian suburb of Saint Denis, and arrested five others, according to local media.

One of the suspects managed to escape, French RTL radio said.

Seven or eight alleged grenade explosions were heard near the place where the two suspects are hiding, according to BFMTV.

A group of 50 military has been deployed to facilitate the operation.

"A woman with an explosive belt that has not been activated was shot," two RTL radio security correspondents reported, corroborating previous reports of three deaths and two arrests in the raid.
The three-hour siege reportedly targets Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the terrorist acts, previously thought to have been in Syria, as well as Salah Abdeslam and a potential ninth assailant. Abdeslam is thought to have rented a vehicle used in the massacres.

[END REPORT but lots of Tweets in the report, if you're a fan of the genre]

All right; that really is the last update. Signing off for the rest of the day.  
UPDATE 4:00 AM EST
The Washington Post is reporting as of 3:50 AM EST that 2 suspects are dead in the police raid, so we're back to 2. And I haven't read the entire report so I don't know whether WaPo has news about the present state of the siege. 

I hate posting on breaking news stories.  All right, that's the absolute last update.  

UPDATE 3:51 AM EST
Report from NBC News, which has video of the siege. At this point suspect deaths from the police raid reduced from 2 to 1, at least in this latest from NBC. Also, from witnesses interviewed by NBC, the time of the police assault began 2 hours earlier than the Irish Times report (below) stated.

The problem with the NBC report is that it doesn't explain whether the siege is ended; it doesn't seem that would be the case, from the Irish Times report.  The NBC report wanders off into related news while leaving us hanging about the siege.  [eyeroll]  

Well, there will be plenty of other 'breaking news' reports later this morning on the situation.  But this is the last update I'm doing.  

BREAKING NEWS
PARIS TERROR ATTACKS
NOV 18 2015, 3:14 AM EST

Paris Attacks: 1 Dead, 5 Arrested During Saint-Denis Raid

by NANCY ING, CASSANDRA VINOGRAD, RICHARD ENGEL, BEN PLESSER
and MARC SMITH

PARIS — A woman blew herself up as elite French police raided an apartment early Wednesday near Paris targeting high-level terror suspects involved inlast week's attacks, officials said.
Four men and another woman were also arrested during the operation in the northern suburb of St-Denis. Heavy gunfire was reported for several hours.
A woman detonated her suicide vest as the apartment was stormed, according to the Paris Prosecutor's Office.
Officials confirmed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian jihadist who is suspected of being a lynchpin in the assaults that killed 129 people in Paris on Friday, was one of several people targeted by the raid. However, it was not immediately clear whether Abaaoud was among those arrested.
GALLERY: Gunfire Erupts in Paris Suburb
Several explosions could be heard around 7:30 a.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET), about three hours into the operation. Officials said it was ongoing as of 8:25 a.m. local time (2:25 a.m. ET).
Veronique Haounoh, 43, was holed-up in an apartment across the street from the operation with several neighbors and heard "explosions at irregular intervals."
"We heard so many booms," she told NBC News. "I'm shaking. We are very scared, I can't stop crying."
Witness Abdel Nour al Jazaeri, an unemployed Algerian immigrant, told NBC News that he saw police raiding a building and heard intense gunfire beginning at 4:30 a.m.
A local resident who lives nearby said that he heard "lots of shots" between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. local time.
"I was sleeping," said the man, who identified himself only as Alexandre. "I heard the noise — the shots. I said, 'That's not fireworks'."
Saint Denis is a low-income area that's close to the Stade de France, a 81,000-seat venue which was targeted by three suicide bombers during a game involving the national team and Germany on Friday.
A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said the police operation — which the involved France's elite RAID units — was planned.
Authorities have been searching for two more suspects believed to have directly participated in the series of bombings and shootings in Paris Friday that killed at least 129 people. Seven attackers were killed, most in suicide bombings, officials said.
[...]
UPDATE 2:47 AM  EST -- number of arrested now at 3.  News of the third arrest is from AFP's Twitter page.  AFP Twitter is probably the best source for the very latest news on the siege

******
Initial post on the siege:

Here is the Irish Times summary of the siege, report timestamped 6:12 AM BST. See the IT website for photos of the siege action. From the report it looks as if the remaining suspects were holed up with enough firepower to hold out for awhile; around 6:30 army units arrived:  

The dead include one woman, who is believed to be a suicide bomber who blew herself up.
Two more people have been arrested following the shootout in north Paris, AFP has reported.
It is also understood that police have been injured during the shootout in a Paris suburb in an operation believed to be linked to the terror attacks in the city.

Swat teams launched a pre-dawn raid in Saint Denis, just north of the capital, and the area's deputy mayor Stephane Peu told French television it was not a "new attack".
Reports suggested the several suspects were hiding in an apartment building and police have blocked off the area around Place Jean Jaures. Several officers have been injured.

The suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud is believed to have barricaded himself inside an apartment at the scene, police have said.
They say they believe he has at least five heavily armed men inside with him.

Shortly before 6.30am French army units arrived at the scene - they were called in after police experienced 'unexpectedly violent resistance'.
At least seven explosions were heard at the scene of the stand-off.

French media are reporting two people have died - including a woman they report detonated a suicide vest.
Baptiste Marie, a 26-year-old journalist who lives near the scene of the stand-off, said: "It started with an explosion. Then there was second big explosion. Then two more explosions. There was an hour of gunfire."
Amin Guizani, 21, says: "There were grenades. It was going, stopping. Kalashnikovs. Starting again."
Riot police were clearing the streets, pointing guns at curious residents to move them off the roads.
Authorities are searching for two extremists suspected of taking part in last Friday's attacks, which killed 129 people.
News of a second unidentified terrorist thought to be directly involved in the Paris terror attacks emerged after CCTV indicated there were three extremists involved in the attack on a bar in the city.
It would take the total number of attackers to nine, with seven dead and the eighth surviving gunman, Salah Abdeslam, the subject of an international manhunt.
Authorities evacuated about 20 people from the building and brought to city hall for protection. The stand-off was taking place on rue du Cornillon, in the heart of the historic, multi-cultural town.
Saint Denis is one of France's most historic places. French kings were crowned and buried through the centuries in its famed basilica. Today it is home to a vibrant and very ethnically diverse population and sees sporadic tension between police and violent youths.
Online Editors

[END REPORT]

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