The Latest: Police ban public demonstrations in Paris
PARIS (AP) The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local):
Police have banned public demonstrations until Nov. 22 in Paris and surrounding towns in the latest utilization of expanded security measures permitted under the state of emergency installed following last week's bloody attacks.
The ban on marches and other demonstrations on public squares and roadways enters into effect midnight Wednesday.
A debate will start Thursday in the lower house of France's parliament ahead of a vote on whether the state of emergency should be extended for three months.
The Paris prosecutor has backed away from a statement his office had made Wednesday morning that indicated a woman holed up in the apartment had died during a raid north of the French capital after setting off her explosive vest.
At the news conference, Francois Molins explained that ''this point needs to be verified by an analysis of the body and human remains as well as by all the forensic police operations that have to be carried out.''
At least two people were killed in Wednesday's raid in Saint-Denis and eight people arrested.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says two planned marches scheduled to take place during the upcoming Paris climate talks will be banned for security reasons following last week's attacks across the French capital.
In a statement Wednesday, Fabius said the government has decided not to authorize climate marches scheduled in Paris and other French cities on Nov. 29 and Dec. 12 in order ''to avoid any extra risk.''
Friday's attacks in Paris killed 129 people.
Authorities say the suspected ringleader of the Paris attack and a fugitive wanted over the deadly rampage were not arrested in a massive police raid north of the capital, but could be among those killed.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins says that authorities know that suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud or wanted fugitive Salah Abdeslam were not among those detained in the police operation Wednesday.
Molins did not eliminate the possibility that they were killed, saying the identities of those slain in the raid in the town of Saint-Denis is still being investigated.
He said at least two people died in the raid, but that he wasn't in ''a position to give a precise and definitive number for the people who died.''
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins says police fired some 5,000 rounds during an hour-long exchange of fire at a hideout where a terrorist cell had holed up north of the capital.
Molins says heavily armed police squads initially were thwarted by a reinforced door to the apartment in Saint-Denis north of Paris where the terror cell had holed up, and faced nearly incessant fire as they worked to enter.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins says a terror cell neutralized in a massive police raid was ready to act.
Molins told reporters the police assault in Saint-Denis north of Paris on Wednesday was connected with the terror attacks Friday in the capital against a concert hall, nightspots and the national soccer stadium.
Two people were killed in the siege, including a woman who blew herself up, and seven others were arrested.
The head of Sweden's intelligence service SAPO says police are searching for a man who is wanted in connection with a terror probe.
Anders Thornberg said Wednesday that police have launched ''a preliminary investigation regarding preparation for a terrorist offense.''
He said the Swedish case was not linked to the Paris attacks.
He said the suspect had entered Sweden this week, but declined to give any further details about the person.
The agency said earlier Wednesday it has raised the Scandinavian country's terror alert to the second-highest level after it received ''concrete information.''
Moldovan border police say they have detained two Moldovan citizens trying to illegally enter Romania and travel onto France. Police said they carried a book that ''propagated Islamic ideology.''
Police fired three warning shots Wednesday near the southwestern town of Cahul after the men, aged 19 and 26, tried to flee. Police said the men were carrying Islamic objects and a Russian-language version of the book ''the Fortress of the Muslim.''
Police did not identify the men but said one had been convicted of murder and had converted to Islam in prison.
France's health minister says 195 people remain hospitalized after last Friday's terror attacks in Paris.
Minister Marisol Touraine told Parliament on Wednesday that three of them are still in critical condition and 41 are in intensive care.
France's justice minister updated the overall number of injured in the Paris attacks to 368 people, up from 352.
Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the attacks, which left 129 people dead.
Across Europe, the divide is deepening between those who see the massive migrant flow as a potential security threat that should be shut down and those who note that many refugees are the victims of Islamic extremism.
In Poland, the town of Szamocin, which had defied an anti-migrant mood across the country to welcome Syrian refugees, has now retracted the invitation. Mayor Eugeniusz Kucner said on his town's website that ''despite our sympathy for Syrian refugees, we cannot exclude that among them there will be terrorists.''
A new anti-migrant government in Poland, which took office this week, is also deeply unhappy about the previous government's decision to accept 7,000 refugees as part of a European plan. New government officials vow that asylum applications will be scrutinized carefully.
Italian Premier Matteo Renzi views Russia's push for a ''grand coalition'' to defeat the Islamic State group as a `'a very right proposal.''
Renzi said he shares Russian President Vladimir Putin's urging that what's needed to combat IS is a grand coalition of countries, like one that came together in World War II to defeat Hitler.
In an interview Wednesday on Italy's Sky TG24 TV, Renzi said bringing Russia into such an international coalition `'would be very positive.''
Putin on Tuesday ordered a Russian missile cruiser in the Mediterranean to start cooperating with the French military on operations in Syria against IS.
Members of the band Eagles of Death Metal say they're home safe after the Paris attacks and ''are horrified and still trying to come to terms with what happened.''
The U.S. band was to perform at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris last Friday when the deadly attacks occurred. Eighty-nine people were killed at the hall.
They say Wednesday their ''thoughts and hearts are first and foremost with our brother Nick Alexander, our record company comrades Thomas Ayad, Marie Mosser, and Manu Perez, and all the friends and fans whose lives were taken in Paris.''
The band, which released a new album last month, were on a European tour when the attacks occurred. They said all shows are on hold for now.
The band also thanked ''the French police, the FBI, the U.S. and French State Departments.''
UEFA says all 40 matches in the Champions League and Europa League next week are scheduled to go ahead.
UEFA confirmed its plans after the terror attacks in Paris and international friendly matches in Belgium and Germany were cancelled due to security alerts.
No clubs have contacted UEFA about potential changes to matches for next Tuesday through Thursday. Still, UEFA is ''working closely with the home clubs and local authorities to ensure all necessary measures are implemented to guarantee safety.''
Paris Saint-Germain plays next Wednesday at Swedish champion Malmo.
The Monaco and Anderlecht teams have banned the Brussels club's fans from traveling for a Europa League match on Nov. 26.
French lawmakers are paying tribute to police and security forces involved in the raid of a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's deadly attacks in Paris was believed to be hiding.
Claude Bartolone, president of France's lower house of the Parliament, on Wednesday praised them for their ''determination, efficiency and speed'' while put to a severe test. Before a standing ovation, Bartolone then expressed France's gratitude and admiration for ''their courage.''
The siege ended Wednesday with two deaths and seven arrests but no clear information on the fugitive's fate.
Italy's president says terrorism is attacking `'our Europe'' and calls the recent attacks on the continent `'an attempt at global war by unprecedented methods.''
President Sergio Mattarella, Italy's head of state, also called on Europeans to `'be united, determined and together in affirming the principles of our humanism.'' He was speaking Wednesday at a ceremony in Florence, the cradle of Italy's artistic and architectural Renaissance.
Mattarella, a constitutional law expert, said security for Europe's citizens must be guaranteed `'without renouncing freedoms gained.''
He says ''we cannot eradicate hate by making it enter into our lives and our civilization.''
The Islamic State group again has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, vowing in its online English-language magazine to continue its attacks.
The magazine, released Wednesday, included the threat: ''The Islamic State will continue to stand firm in the face of their transgressions and retaliate with fire and bloodshed in revenge for the honor of the Prophet (Muhammad) and the multitudes killed and injured in crusader airstrikes.''
The magazine also included a claim that the group killed a Chinese and a Norwegian hostage and photographs of the bomb that it said brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31.
Friday's night of terror in Paris killed 129 people and wounded over 350 others.
A man who says he lives in the apartment raided by French SWAT teams says he let some people stay there as a favor and ''didn't know they're terrorists.''
Jawad Bendaoud, who was detained during Wednesday's raid on suspects linked to last week's Paris attacks, spoke to BFMTV as he was being led away by police.
Speaking outside the building in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, he says ''I learned it was at my place, and the individuals barricaded themselves in my place ...I didn't know they're terrorists.''
He said someone had ''asked me to put some people up for two, three days, and I provided this service.''
He says ''I don't know where they come from ... If I would have known, I wouldn't have let them stay.''
Bendaoud's lawyer confirmed the man in the footage was his client, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for killing his best friend in a 2006 fight.
France's secretary of sport says soccer matches around the country are going ahead this weekend despite the deadly terror attacks in Paris because ''life must go on.''
Thierry Braillard said in an interview Wednesday with the sports daily L'Equipe that suspending games would be ''exactly what these barbarians want.'' He said French league President Frederic Thiriez is ''totally'' in agreement with the decision.
Friday's night of terror in Paris killed 129 people and injured 350 others, leading to the cancellation of sporting events around Paris and other cities last weekend.
The French first division resumes Friday evening when Lyon travels to Nice.
Sweden's security service says it has raised the Scandinavian country's terror alert to the second-highest level.
SAPO said Wednesday it had received ''concrete information'' and has decided to act ''with the framework of our contra-terror work.''
The agency said it had raised the alert to level four of five possible graduations. It did not elaborate but a news conference was planned for later Wednesday.
Britain says one of the Royal Navy's most advanced warships will support a French aircraft carrier as it deploys to the Gulf to fight the Islamic State group.
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the HMS Defender will provide air defense cover for France's Charles de Gaulle carrier, which has left Toulon to help French operations in Syria against IS.
The Defender, with 230 crew, is on a nine-month deployment to the Middle East. The Royal Navy says can defend a group of ships against attack from the air, either by aircraft or missiles.
There has been a visible increase in security around the Vatican following the Paris attacks and ahead of Pope Francis' big Jubilee Year, which opens Dec. 8.
Francis' personal security detail was nearly doubled during his Wednesday general audience, and the carabinieri were out in force in St. Peter's Square.
Italy is already planning to close the airspace over Rome during special Jubilee celebrations. Rome's prefect, Franco Gabrielli, said Wednesday authorities were prepared to shoot down drones and ultralight aircraft if they violate the air space ban.
Millions of pilgrims are expected to descend on Rome for various celebrations over the course of the Jubilee year. Already, the government has added 700 extra soldiers for the capital.
The Slovak government is planning to tighten anti-terrorist legislation following the attacks in Paris.
Prime Minister Robert Fico says Wednesday that changes to anti-terror laws should be discussed by his government next week, and should include limiting rights of terror suspects.
Fico says: ''It is our duty to preventively have as soon as possible clear and strict anti-terror legislation.'' Fico also says the intelligence services and police force should be given more powers and the country will increase the number of police in special forces as well policemen.
Overnight raids by French police across France have resulted in 25 arrests and the seizure of 34 weapons.
The new tally was announced Wednesday by the Interior Ministry.
The arrests are the latest in a nationwide police dragnet that has seen nightly raids by security forces under powers granted by the state of emergency declared after last week's attacks in Paris.
In all, French police have carried out 414 raids and made 60 arrests while seizing 75 weapons since Friday. The captured armory includes 11 military-style firearms, 33 rifles and 31 handguns. In addition to dozens of arrests, 118 more people have been placed under house arrest in another of the new powers permitted under France's state of emergency.
Parliament is expected to extend the state of emergency for three months later this week.
A Spanish security official says French authorities have sent out a bulletin to police across Europe asking them to watch out for a Citroen Xsara car that could be carrying Salah Abdeslam, the fugitive wanted in the Paris attacks
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of department rules preventing the official from being named.
Spain's El Espanol digital publication first reported the bulletin Wednesday, publishing a document with the car's description and naming Abdeslam. It was sent by Spanish authorities to border control police in the northeastern Catalonia region next to France.
The security official said the bulletin was sent to authorities across Europe, not only to Spain.
- By Ciaran Giles in Madrid.
Danish police have called off a bomb scare at Copenhagen's international airport that prompted an hour-long evacuation of hundreds of passengers.
Police rushed Wednesday to Terminal 3, the main arrival and departure terminal for the Nordic region's hub, after ''a suspicious bag'' had been spotted.
However, it was ''an overheard conversation about a bomb'' that sparked the evacuation, police said on Twitter. Bomb experts, fire trucks, police and ambulances were seen parked outside.
Commuter train and subway lines to the airport also were briefly halted. The airport said Terminal 3 was reopened but check-ins had been moved to Terminal 2 and delays were to be expected.
French President Francois Hollande says any places where people are ''glorifying terrorism'' will be shut down.
A bill to extend France's state of emergency for three months includes a measure that enables authorities to close ''any association or gathering'' - which notably includes mosques and community groups- that would encourage people to carry out terrorist acts.
The bill is to be debated by both houses of Parliament on Thursday and Friday and expected to be voted on by the end of the week.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that three Britons wounded in the Paris attacks have been released from the hospital and returned to the U.K.
Cameron told lawmakers Wednesday that another 15 are being treated for trauma by the Foreign Office and the Red Cross. He did not provide any further details.
One Briton, 36-year-old Nick Alexander, was earlier confirmed killed in the Bataclan concert hall attack in Paris. In all, 129 people died in the Paris attacks last week that Islamic State militants claimed to have orchestrated.
Turkey's military says a suspected Islamic State militant has been killed while trying to illegally cross into Turkey from Syria.
A brief military statement on Wednesday said the incident occurred a day earlier, in Kilis province, which borders Syria. It said 21 other people were also detained during the incident, nine of them children.
Turkey has reinforced its 900-kilometer (560-mile) border with Syria and has tightened controls in a bid to stem infiltrations by extremists.
President Francois Hollande says France will not ''cede to fear'' and is urging his compatriots to go back out to cafes and museums and live life to its fullest.
He says ''what would our country be without its cafes, concerts, sport events, museums?'' Hollande was speaking to mayors from around the country Wednesday, after the country's deadliest violence in decades last week.
The French leader says ''life must resume in full,'' and is promising extra security to ensure that museums can reopen and ''our tourists can be welcomed.''
Islamic suicide bombers killed at least 129 people in attacks Friday night on a concert hall, cafes and France's national stadium.
Jordan's monarch is optimistic the world will come together to fight terror in the wake of the Paris attacks, noting they were only the latest in a series of attacks that represent a global threat.
Abdullah II says the Paris killings are another example of the need to fight ''a global war against terror.'' He says 100,000 Muslims have been killed by IS in Syria and Iraq over the past year, adding the world needs a ''holistic approach'' on dealing with the terrorist scourge.
The king spoke to reporters Wednesday while on a visit to Austria.
Authorities say the main terminal at Copenhagen's international airport, the Nordic region's main hub, has been evacuated because of ''a suspicious bag.''
Police had no more details about Wednesday's evacuation of Terminal 3, the main arrival and departure terminal. Television footage shows bomb experts, fire trucks and police outside the airport building.
The commuter train and subway lines to and from the airport were also halted.
As of late October, more than 22.6 million people have so far this year traveled through the Copenhagen airport.
French President Francois Hollande says France is `at war' against terrorism by the Islamic State group.
Hollande says he wants ''large coalition'' working together against IS militants to destroy a group that threatens the whole world and ''commits massacres'' in the Mideast.
Hollande says ''we are at war.'' He was speaking in a televised address Wednesday after a seven-hour police siege on an apartment north of Paris where police suspected the mastermind of the deadly Paris attacks might have been.
He says the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle just left to help French military operations in Syria against IS.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says security agencies made the right decision to cancel the soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands due to attack fears.
The Tuesday night friendly match in Hannover was called off 90 minutes before the kickoff after German authorities received mounting information about a possible attack on the stadium.
Merkel and several members of her Cabinet had been due to attend the match to demonstrate that Germany wouldn't bow to terror following the deadly attacks in Paris.
Merkel said Wednesday ''I was just as sad as millions of fans that this cancellation had to happen, but the security agencies took a responsible decision.''
She said ''these are difficult decisions, possibly the most difficult decisions between freedom and security. But yesterday it was taken in favor of security, and that's right.''
A father's heartwarming explanation to his son about the Paris terror attacks is electrifying social media, with more than 27 million views on Facebook alone.
The video shows an interview conducted by a reporter for France's Le Petit Journal in a Paris square where people are laying flowers and lighting candles to honor the 129 victims killed in the attacks.
The child tells the reporter the attacks were conducted by ''bad guys'' who were ''not very nice.'' He then expresses fear that his family will be forced to move, although his father reassures him they won't because there are ''bad guys everywhere.''
With his arm around his son, the father refers to the crowd at the square, and says, ''It's OK. They might have guns, but we have flowers.''
The French government says all 129 people killed in attacks Friday on a Paris stadium, a concert hall and cafes have been identified.
A statement released after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting says about 100 families have come to see the bodies.
At least 350 people were also wounded in the Paris attacks, with scores of people still critically injured. The death toll may still rise if some of the wounded do not recover.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says authorities are working to determine the fate of the suspected mastermind of last week's Paris attacks after a seven-hour police raid on an apartment where he was believed to be hiding.
Francois Molins says the police began the raid Wednesday after gathering information that suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud could be in a safe house apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
Molins said the information was collected from tapped telephone conversations, surveillance and witness accounts.
He told reporters in Saint-Denis after the operation was over that authorities are still working to determine who was inside. Seven people were arrested and two suspects were killed.
A White House official says President Barack Obama has been briefed on the law enforcement operation in a suburb of Paris. This is a French law enforcement operation, but the president asked to be updated, the official said.
Obama is in Manila for an economic summit. The official was not authorized to discuss the briefing further.
A French government spokesman says a seven-hour police operation north of Paris targeting the mastermind of the deadly Paris attacks and his accomplices, has ended. He says two people were killed in the operation and seven arrested.
- Kathleen Hennessey in Manila.
Turkey's state-run news agency says authorities have detained eight people at Istanbul's main airport who they suspect could be Islamic State militants planning to make their way to Germany, posing as refugees.
The Anadolu Agency said Wednesday the eight arrived in Istanbul from Casablanca, Morocco, and were interviewed by criminal profiling teams at Ataturk Airport. Citing police sources, the agency said one of the suspects had a hand-drawn picture of a planned route from Turkey to Germany, via Greece, Serbia and Hungary.
Anadolu said the eight claimed to be tourists visiting Istanbul but a hotel refuted claims they had reservations there.
French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll says a seven-hour police operation north of Paris targeting the mastermind of the Paris attacks and his accomplices, has ended.
Le Foll spoke to reporters in the presidential palace after a Cabinet meeting, saying ''the operation is over.''
Police say two people were killed in the operation Wednesday including a female suicide bomber. Several police were injured and seven people were arrested.
The fate of the suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is unclear.
Police say a police dog was killed in the siege of an apartment where some of the Paris attackers are thought to be holed up.
The National Police said in a tweet that a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois named Diesel, a SWAT team assault dog, was ''killed by terrorists'' during the raid in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.
Police say two suspects have died in the ongoing assault, one of them a female suicide bomber. Seven people have been arrested in the apartment building. Several police officers were slightly injured.
The raid is targeting perpetrators of Friday's deadly gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.
Police have escorted out children and others from the scene of a big police standoff with suspects in last week's Paris attacks.
A woman in a purple headscarf wept while carrying a child. A man next to her carried another child wearing pink, and an older boy walked near them.
It is unclear whether they had been in the building where two people have been killed, several police slightly injured and seven people arrested since the standoff began seven hours ago.
Armed security officers have fanned out around the historic Paris suburb of Saint-Denis during an hours-long standoff with police.
Journalists, cameramen, police and curious residents waited nervously in the central Place Victor Hugo, as sirens echoed around the neighborhood.
It contrasted with the serenity of the Saint-Denis Basilica - one of the world's most majestic gothic churches - that towers over the area. Its famed stone tower was lit up beautifully in the unusually sunny November morning.
Officials say seven people have been arrested in a raid on an apartment building where suspects in last week's Paris attacks were holed up.
A senior police official and the Paris prosecutor's office say that the seven were arrested Wednesday in the building in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
They did not identify those detained.
Authorities believe there may still be someone still hiding in an apartment.
A loud bang rang out in the streets adjacent to the building around the time of the latest arrests.
The governor of Lower Saxony is reassuring Germans after the cancellation of a soccer game over terrorism concerns that ''the security situation is stable'' in the northern state.
Stephan Weil said Wednesday he knew people were worried, but asked ''all to trust in the security authorities.''
State Interior Minister Boris Pistorius said Tuesday night's Germany vs Netherlands match in Hannover was nixed at short notice after ''vague'' information that solidified late in the day.
He wouldn't give details, saying the ''more concrete information we give the more likely it is to reveal the source.''
He says it's possible no arrests were made and no explosives were found because the plot was called off after the game was canceled.
Pistorius says ''we won't know what would have happened if we didn't cancel it.''
A bill to extend France's state of emergency for three months is being presented to a Cabinet meeting.
French president Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency for 12 days following Friday night's attacks. Parliament must approve extending it.
The bill is to be debated in the Cabinet on Wednesday, the lower house on Thursday and at the Senate on Friday.
The state of emergency extends some police powers of search and arrest and limits public gatherings, among other changes.
Austria's interior ministry says a Belgian suspect sought in the Paris attacks was on an EU-wide police list when he was stopped in Austria in September, and his presence in the country was reported back to Belgian authorities.
Ministry official Karl-Heinz Gruendboeck says Belgium had registered Salah Abdeslam in the Schengen Information System on suspicion of unidentified criminal activity.
He said Wednesday Austrian police reported his presence to Belgian police.
Officials earlier said Abdeslam entered Austria from Germany Sept. 9 with two unidentified companions and they were stopped for a routine traffic check. They said they were planning a vacation in Vienna,
Abdeslam, 26, is the suspected driver of a group of gunmen in the Paris attacks. His brother, Brahim, was among the suicide bombers and killed one civilian after blowing himself up outside a restaurant.
French President Francois Hollande is holding an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace to monitor the raid on a suburban Paris apartment.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Justice Minister Christiane Taubira are meeting with the president.
A Cabinet meeting is to be held on Wednesday morning as previously scheduled, according to the French presidency.
A police official says that one person is still holed up in an apartment north of Paris after an hours-long standoff with police in which two have been killed and five arrested.
The official, not authorized to be publicly named according to police rules, said the standoff is still going on after some five hours.
The person's identity has not been released. Authorities say the operation is targeting the mastermind of last week's Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people.
- By Philippe Sotto
Denmark's National Police say it has raised its internal alert level, adding the Scandinavian country's intelligence agency's overall terror threat assessment has not been changed and remains ''serious.''
Police says the reason for stepping up the alertness to ''significant elevated preparedness'' is ''a result of the current uncertain situation in several European countries.''
In Wednesday's statement, the police said the change is only internal, and citizens will not notice any changes.
In February, a lone gunman attacked a free speech event and a synagogue that left two people dead and wounded five in Copenhagen. The shooter Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was killed in a shootout with a SWAT team.
The Paris prosecutor's office says that SWAT teams have arrested three people in an apartment where police are in a standoff with suspects in last week's Paris attacks.
In a statement, the prosecutor's office says that the three haven't been identified yet.
Another man and woman were detained near the apartment, the statement says. It says the standoff is ongoing.
Two people have been killed in the standoff, including a woman suicide bomber who blew herself up, the prosecutor said.
A French police official says a woman wearing an explosive suicide vest has blown herself up in a standoff between police and suspects in last week's Paris attacks.
The official said she is among two people killed in the ongoing standoff in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. The official, not authorized to be publicly named because of police rules, said four police officers have been injured. No hostages are being held.
Police have said the operation Wednesday is targeting the suspected orchestrator of last week's attacks, holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with other armed people.
-By Jamey Keaten
Police say two suspects in last week's Paris attacks - a man and a woman - have been killed in a police operation north of the capital.
An official with the Paris police department who was not authorized to be publicly named said two people have been detained, and two police officers injured in the standoff Wednesday in Saint-Denis.
Police have said the operation is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, believed to be holed up in an apartment in Saint-Denis with several other heavily armed suspects.
- By Jamey Keaten
A senior French police official says a large police operation north of Paris is targeting the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
The official says authorities believe Abaaoud is holed up in an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, along with up to five other heavily armed people.
The official, who was not authorized to be publicly named according to police rules but is informed routinely about the operation, says that scores of police who stormed the building early Wednesday were met with unexpectedly violent resistance. Reinforcements were summoned and several people were injured.
Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis have evacuated about 20 residents from a building where suspects linked to the Paris attacks are holed up in a standoff with police.
A city official not authorized to be publicly named told The Associated Press the residents were brought to city hall for protection. City hall is about 200 meters (yards) from the apartment building where the standoff is taking place on rue du Cornillon, in the heart of the historic, multicultural town just north of Paris.
The site is less than 2 kilometers (about a mile) from the Stade de France national stadium. Three suicide bombers blew themselves up Friday near the stadium during an international soccer match with French President Francois Hollande in attendance.
Saint-Denis is one of France's most historic places. French kings were crowned and buried through the centuries in its famed basilica. Today it is home to a vibrant and very ethnically diverse population and sees sporadic tension between police and violent youths.
At least seven explosions have been heard at the scene of a police standoff with suspects in last week's deadly Paris attacks.
Associated Press reporters at the scene could hear what sounded like grenade blasts from the direction of the standoff in the heart of the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
The source of the blasts is unclear. Police say several people are holed up in an apartment and several police have been injured in an operation that has lasted at least three hours on Wednesday morning.
A resident of the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis describes intense gunfire and explosions during a police operation near the site of one of last week's deadly attacks.
Baptiste Marie, a 26-year-old independent journalist who lives near the scene of the standoff, tells The Associated Press: ''It started with an explosion. Then there was second big explosion. Then two more explosions. There was an hour of gunfire.''
Resident Amine Guizani, 21, says: ''There were grenades. It was going, stopping. Kalashnikovs. Starting again.''
Riot police were clearing the streets early Wednesday, pointing guns at curious residents to move them off the roads.
Marie said the officers seemed nervous.
''You could see it in their eyes, '' Marie said.
Police say anti-terrorist officers are raiding an apartment in a north Paris suburb where several men are holed up.
The Paris police department says officers have exchanged gunfire with the suspects and several police have been injured. The extent of their injuries is unknown.
It's unclear whether there are injuries among the suspects.
Police reinforcements are arriving at the scene in Saint-Denis.
Police vans and fire trucks are rushing to the scene of a SWAT team operation in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis that is linked to the deadly Paris attacks.
A helicopter is flying overhead at dawn Wednesday.
French television BFM and i-Tele say that the suspects are inside an apartment building.
Police have cordoned off the area nearby, including a pedestrian zone lined with shops and 19th-century apartment buildings.
Neighborhood resident Fabien Crombe said on BFM television that gunshots have repeatedly broken out since the police operation began, punctuated by silence and the sound of sirens.
Saint-Denis Mayor Didier Paillard said transport has been stopped and schools in the center of town will not open Wednesday.
Authorities in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis are telling residents to stay inside during a large police operation near France's national stadium that two officials say is linked to last week's deadly attacks.
Deputy Mayor Stephane Peu told i-Tele television that there have been many gun shots and detonations in the operation that began at 4:25 a.m. (0325 GMT) Wednesday on rue de la Republique in the center of Saint-Denis.
The site is less than two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Stade de France, targeted by three suicide bombers during Friday's attacks.
He urged residents to stay home, saying ''it is not a new attack but a police intervention.''
Two officials say police operation now underway is connected to the investigation into Friday's attacks that killed 129 people.