Three people were killed and three arrested as French police raided an address in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis linked to last week’s terror attacks in Paris, a government official said.
The operation that began about 4:25 a.m. near the cathedral where French kings were entombed cornered an armed group that includes Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind, AFP said. The dead include a woman who blew herself up, the official said. No police were killed.
Five people were barricaded in the apartment and people living in the area were told to stay indoors and turn off their lights, according to France Info radio. Helicopters circled the area and sporadic shots were being heard, Saint-Denis Mayor Didier Paillard said on France Info. All transport in the area has been halted, he said. Schools in Saint-Denis will be closed today, AFP said.
Two further arrests were made near the apartment, according to the statement. The standoff continues.
The attacks on Friday at seven sites in the Paris area killed 129 people and injured more than 300. French police have conducted a dragnet across the country since then, carrying out hundreds of raids and searches.
Arrests have been made in Belgium and Germany in recent days as the hunt for attackers and their possible accomplices crossed Europe’s borders. While French officials blame Islamic State for the Paris strikes, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday authorities still didn’t have the full picture, including the total number of individuals involved.
The country has stepped up bombing of Islamic State targets since Friday, destroying a command center and a training site at the terror group’s stronghold in Raqqa, Syria.