Double hostage crisis grips Paris

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Paris: France was embroiled in a double hostage crisis Friday as two gunmen who had massacred 12 people in French satirical magazine held a hostage in northeast Paris while a third gunman who killed a policewoman held five people hostage in a Jewish supermarket, both places surrounded by police and sharpshooters.

While the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre were holding a hostage in a commercial building in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, the gunman behind Thursday’s Montrouge shooting is suspected of taking five people hostage at Porte de Vincennes in southern Paris, .

A police operation is currently under way in the area where Charlie Hebdo attackers were holed up, Efe newes agency reported citing a statement issued by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

An elite unit of the Gendarmerie was in place and would carry out an operation, added the minister.

According to the television channel RTL, the suspects, who are brothers of Algerian parentage, have entrenched themselves in a company office in the town and have taken a hostage.

At around 7.40 a.m. GMT, the two men stole a vehicle belonging to a woman in the town of Montagny-Sainte-Felicite and identified themselves as the Kouachi brothers who are wanted for the attack Wednesday on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in which 12 people died.

A few minutes later, there was a shootout with police in Dammartin-en-Goele.

A witness quoted by RTL said he had heard two shots, and helicopters arrived soon after along with the security forces who ordered residents to stay in their homes and keep their windows closed.

Meanwhile, the perpetrator of Thursday’s Montrouge shooting is suspected of having taken five hostages at Porte de Vincennes in southern Paris, after firing gunshots around 3 p.m. Friday.

The hostages were taken in a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes, 20th Arrondissement, south Paris. At least one person was injured, Xinhua news agency reported citing BFMTV.

On Thursday morning, a 20-year-old policewoman was killed in a shooting in Montrouge. A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire on her and a civilian who was responding to a traffic accident.

Women and children are among the five hostages taken by the shooter, the report said.

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