The French police raided the north Paris suburb of St. Denis in the early hours of Wednesday morning in order to apprehend two people suspected of involvement in the terrorist attacks on Friday that resulted on the death of 129 people.
The prosecutor’s office announced that at the start of the raid, a woman detonated her suicide vest inside an apartment. Three men hiding in the same apartment have been arrested. The French police raid was carried out after information was received about the whereabouts of the Belgian militant Abdelhamid Abaaoud. He is suspected of masterminding the attacks. As yet, there is no confirmation if Abaaoud was arrested in the raid.
Heavy gunfire erupted at 4 a.m. when the raid began in the Paris suburb. The fighting lasted for more than 15 minutes. Residents were warned by the police to stay indoors as helicopters hovered above. The main focus of the police was an apartment located near the main square in St.-Denis. It is the same place where three attackers detonated their suicide vests on Friday. There were no details shared by the police except that some men were arrested from inside the apartment. Their identities have not yet been revealed.
Gunfire erupted again around 7:30 a.m. together with explosions.
Two fugitives are still believed to be at large: a Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, and another one whose identity is not known to the police but whose existence was confirmed through intelligence sources. Salah Abdeslam is believed to have escaped to Brussels.
French and American agents revealed on Tuesday that Abaaoud was in Syria, however, several television stations reported on Wednesday morning that he may be one of the suspects apprehended from the apartment in north Paris. A few of the attackers had apparently rented a house in the suburb of Bobigny after letting the owner know that they were from Belgium and were in Paris for Business. A hotel suite was also booked in the suburb of Alfortville.
On Tuesday, French jets dropped at least 16 bombs in the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa. French authorities described the targets as training facilities and command centers. France invoked a European treaty on Tuesday that obliges other members to provide assistance is one of them is a victim of aggression.