French police arrest seven in Charlie Hebdo terror swoops - policewoman dies in second gun attack in Paris
Seven people have been arrested in France as the search continues for the two men believed to be behind the murder of 10 journalists and two policemen at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris
The seven people are thought to be associates or relatives of the suspects and were arrested in Reims, Charleville-Mezieres and Paris
News of the arrests came as another shooting in Paris claimed the life of a policewoman and left a second officer injured after two individuals opened fire in a suburb in the south of the city. Officers claim it is too early to say whether the shootout was connected to the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Sky news reports claim among the recently arrested is the brother-in-law of one of the two suspected gunmen.
French police continue to search for the two suspects, named as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who are said to be “armed and dangerous” as an 18-year-old suspected accomplice handed himself into local authorities last night.
Chérif, 32, was already known to security officials for a previous terror conviction.
He was jailed in 2008 for three years for seeking to join extremists in Iraq as part of a jihadist group which appeared to offer instruction in how to fire the Kalashnikov rifle – the weapon used in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The two brothers suspected of the attack are believed to be orphans of Algerian descent, raised in the city of Rennes in north west France.
One of the brother’s ID card has reportedly been discovered in an abandoned getaway car used by the two, French website Le Point reported.
Last night vigils were attended by thousands in Paris and hundreds in Berlin and London.
In every major city across France, hundreds of thousands gathered in a show of defiant solidarity against the gunmen who invoked Allah as they shot dead 12 people in a few horrifying minutes.
School teacher Jamilla (34) pointed at her poster, depicting a Muslim man in an embrace with a man representing Charlie Hebdo.
"I am Muslim and I defend until the end what this poster says - hate cannot win. These killers tried to kill not only people but also the idea of peace and debate. I won't let them do that and everyone in France won't let them do that. They had no right to use the name of Allah. Mohammed would be turning in his grave. Tonight we are all Charlie," she said.
Hundreds of people filled London's Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil. Architect Dean Stoker (38) said: "I was really sickened by what I saw today. It is an incredibly important thing, freedom of the Press and tolerance of others."
Similar gatherings took place in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in Madrid, Brussels, Barcelona and Nice.
World leaders reacted with condemnation, sympathy and defiance.
French president Francois Hollande urged his nation to stay united as he paid tribute to the dead. "They are today our heroes," he said.
Prime Minister David Cameron also denounced the murders.
"The murders in Paris are sickening," he said. "We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the Press."
US President Barack Obama said: "France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers."
Police have cordoned off a block of flats where one of the brothers was believed to have been living with his partner,
France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls told RTL radio early this morning the two men were known to intelligence services and the fear that they could carry out another attack "is our main concern."
A bullet impact is seen in a window of a building next to the French satirical magazine A bullet impact is seen in a window of a building next to the French satirical magazine
Bystanders told The Times that the gunmen told them they were from al-Qaeda in Yemen, also known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Teenager Hamyd Mourad, from the town of Charleville Mézières on the Belgian border, surrendered to police after seeing his name on social media yesterday.
Mr Mourad claims he was attending school at 11.30am yesterday when the attacks took place.
The murder of nine journalists, two police officers and a maintenance man by masked men has shocked France. Around 11.30am two men forcibly entered the offices of the satirical magazine, where a weekly editorial meeting was taking place, and after compelling the journalists to identify themselves opened fire. They were late seen fleeing the building.
A minute’s silence will be observed at 12am across the country and the bells of Notre Dame will toll.
Belfast Telegraph Digital