France from media massacre to hostage dramas


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French police officers stand guard in front of the headquarters of French newspaper Liberation in Paris, on January 9, 2015 French police officers stand guard in front of the headquarters of French newspaper Liberation in Paris, on January 9, 2015


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.

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