France from Media Massacre to Hostage Taking

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Paris: A snapshot of developments since Wednesday's attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 died and 11 were injured, in the deadliest attack in France in half a century.

  • Two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles storm the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo weekly at around 11:30 am (1030 GMT).
  • They kill a cleaning man initially identified as a receptionist before shooting eight journalists, a police officer protecting cartoonist Charb, and a visitor.
  • The attackers climb into a black Citroen and exchange fire with police vehicles, and then coldly execute an injured police officer sprawled on the pavement.
  • Following a collision, they abandon their vehicle, hijack another, and flee northwards from Paris, where police lose their trail.
  • France raises its alert status for Paris and northern regions to the highest level of "attack alert".
  • Anti-terrorist police raid sites in the northeastern towns of Reims and Charleville-Mezieres, acting on forensic evidence and an identity document found in the abandoned car.
  • Police say they are hunting three men, including two brothers: Cherif and Said Kouachi, 34 and 32 respectively.
  • A third man suspected of helping the brothers then turns himself in.

THURSDAY, January 8:

  • A policewoman is shot by a man just outside Paris and dies. Authorities later determine there is no link with the Charlie Hebdo attack.
  • The Charlie Hebdo suspects rob a filling station in the northern Aisne region, the owner then calls police.
  • Investigators find a dozen Molotov cocktails and two jihadist flags in the getaway car used in the massacre.
  • Thousands of security personnel are deployed, many sent to comb the area where the two men were last seen.
  • A US official says the Kouachi brothers have been "on our watch list for years" and that Said had spent a few months training with Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

FRIDAY, January 9:

  • Shots are fired during a car chase on the National 2 highway north of Paris with two suspects who might be the Kouachi brothers, a police source says.
  • The men hijack a car from a woman who said she recognised them as Cherif and Said Kouachi, a police source says.
  • One person is taken hostage at a printing business near Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, which is surrounded by police.


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