There has been an exchange of heavy gunfire this morning in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Three suspected terrorists barricaded themselves in an apartment.
Anti-terrorist police surrounded an apartment where it is believed the suspected mastermind behind Friday’s terror attacks is hiding out.
The target of the siege is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is believed to have been a key planner behind the attacks. It had previously been thought that he was in Syria.
French news channel BFMTV says another two men are possibly in the apartment. Salah Abdeslam, who is the subject of major manhunt, and an unidentified ‘ninth jihadi’, are said to be inside with Abaaoud.
Automatic gunfire and at least five loud explosions – possibly hand grenades – have been heard during the siege.
Residents have been told to stay in their homes and away from windows.
Two people have been confirmed dead and a third is unconfirmed.
One alleged female terrorist wearing an explosive belt has been killed by police before she could set off the bomb, French media has reported.
The whole apartment block is surrounded by police vehicles and the Army was also deployed.
Army now deployed St Denis Paris pic.twitter.com/gJc2gmhMkr
— Jonathan Rugman (@jrug) November 18, 2015
Amateur video recordings have started coming online:
Armed officers have been out in numbers (gunfire starting at around 4:30am Paris time) on the streets around the apartment block.
It is believed Abdelhamid Abaaoud is not in Syria.
One of the other men may be Salah Abdeslam. It was previously thought that he was on the run and there is global search warrant for his arrest.
Ambulances and sirens have been heard throughout the morning.