France: from media massacre to hostage dramas
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.
WEDNESDAY, January 7:
- 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 maintenance man 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, 32 and 34 respectively.
The 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 do not immediately identify a link with the Charlie Hebdo attack, but say the next day that there is in fact a "connection" between the two shootings.
- 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.
- Thousands of security personnel are deployed.
- 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 northeast of Paris with two suspects who might be the Kouachi brothers, a police source says.
- The men hijack a car from a woman who says she recognised them as Cherif and Said Kouachi, according to police.
- One person is taken hostage at a printing business near Charles de Gaulle airport, and police swarm the industrial park where it is located. Army and police helicopters swoop down on the site.
- Schools near the building are evacuated, and the interior ministry says that police are trying to "establish contact" with the massacre suspects.
- At least two people are killed and five others taken hostage after a shoot-out at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris involving a man who police said might be linked to the policewoman's murder.
- Schools near the scene hard by the city's ring road are locked down.
© 2015 AFP