Surrounded Paris shooting suspects take hostage

Reuters is reporting that authorities have surrounded the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo  and that the terrorists have taken at least one hostage in a small town north of Paris.

Dammartin-en-Goele, a small town of about 8,000 residents, has been cut off from the rest of the country, and an industrial estate where the suspects have holed up has been surrounded.

The drama unfolded on a highway leading back into Paris when police pursued the suspects for miles in a high-speed chase.  Witnesses say shots were exchanged before the terrorists abandoned their car and fled on foot.

Reuters is also reporting that the man suspected of murdering a policewoman yesterday is a member of the same terrorist cell as the two brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi.

Western security services had been keen to trace any links between the two suspects and militants overseas. A senior Yemeni intelligence source told Reuters one of the two was in Yemen for several months in 2011 for religious studies.

The danger of hostage taking or of a second attack has been a central concern of security services since the attack that has rocked France and raised questions about policing, militancy, religion and censorship.

WORLDWIDE CONCERN

World leaders described Wednesday's attack on Charlie Hebdo as an assault on democracy; but al Qaeda's North Africa branch praised the gunmen as "knight(s) of truth".

Yohann Bardoux, a plumber whose office is two doors down from the printing shop where the hostage-taking was playing out stayed away from work after hearing gunfire. But he said his mother was in the building next door to the printing shop.

"Of course I'm worried about her, I hope it all comes down soon, and turns out well," Bardoux said.

"They are everywhere. It's really jumping. They've blocked the whole zone, we've got helicopters overhead, the police presence is impressive."

A spokesman for Charles-de-Gaulle airport said all its runways were open but that landings were only taking place at the two south terminals.

A senior Yemeni intelligence source told Reuters one of the two suspects was in Yemen for several months in 2011 for religious studies; but there was no confirmed information whether he was trained by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as they carried out the attack, which has been described by President Francois Hollande and other world leaders as an attack on the fundamentals of democracy.

The attack has raised fears in other capitals of similar actions. Western leaders have long feared Islamist militants drawn into fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere could launch attacks in their home countries on their return.

Meanwhile, the suspect who murdered the policewoman yesterday has taken a hostage in a Kosher grocery store in Paris.

With at least one of the suspects receiving military training in Yemen under the auspices of AQAP, it's possible that the Paris attack signals a series of attacks that will play out over the coming weeks across the continent of Europe and perhaps the U.S.  If so, we have entered a new phase in the War on Terror (maybe we better start using that phrase again) that will challenge the security of the entire Western world.

Reuters is reporting that authorities have surrounded the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo  and that the terrorists have taken at least one hostage in a small town north of Paris.

Dammartin-en-Goele, a small town of about 8,000 residents, has been cut off from the rest of the country, and an industrial estate where the suspects have holed up has been surrounded.

The drama unfolded on a highway leading back into Paris when police pursued the suspects for miles in a high-speed chase.  Witnesses say shots were exchanged before the terrorists abandoned their car and fled on foot.

Reuters is also reporting that the man suspected of murdering a policewoman yesterday is a member of the same terrorist cell as the two brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi.

Western security services had been keen to trace any links between the two suspects and militants overseas. A senior Yemeni intelligence source told Reuters one of the two was in Yemen for several months in 2011 for religious studies.

The danger of hostage taking or of a second attack has been a central concern of security services since the attack that has rocked France and raised questions about policing, militancy, religion and censorship.

WORLDWIDE CONCERN

World leaders described Wednesday's attack on Charlie Hebdo as an assault on democracy; but al Qaeda's North Africa branch praised the gunmen as "knight(s) of truth".

Yohann Bardoux, a plumber whose office is two doors down from the printing shop where the hostage-taking was playing out stayed away from work after hearing gunfire. But he said his mother was in the building next door to the printing shop.

"Of course I'm worried about her, I hope it all comes down soon, and turns out well," Bardoux said.

"They are everywhere. It's really jumping. They've blocked the whole zone, we've got helicopters overhead, the police presence is impressive."

A spokesman for Charles-de-Gaulle airport said all its runways were open but that landings were only taking place at the two south terminals.

A senior Yemeni intelligence source told Reuters one of the two suspects was in Yemen for several months in 2011 for religious studies; but there was no confirmed information whether he was trained by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as they carried out the attack, which has been described by President Francois Hollande and other world leaders as an attack on the fundamentals of democracy.

The attack has raised fears in other capitals of similar actions. Western leaders have long feared Islamist militants drawn into fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere could launch attacks in their home countries on their return.

Meanwhile, the suspect who murdered the policewoman yesterday has taken a hostage in a Kosher grocery store in Paris.

With at least one of the suspects receiving military training in Yemen under the auspices of AQAP, it's possible that the Paris attack signals a series of attacks that will play out over the coming weeks across the continent of Europe and perhaps the U.S.  If so, we have entered a new phase in the War on Terror (maybe we better start using that phrase again) that will challenge the security of the entire Western world.