Armed police sealed off the area as shots rang out in Saint Denis

Armed police sealed off the area as shots rang out in Saint Denis

Explosions and gunfire have been heard. Truckloads of soldiers are there. Two suspects are reported killed.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind, is said to be the focus of the operation.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group has said it carried out the attacks in which 129 people died.

Roads have been blocked off around Rue de la Republique in Saint Denis, in the same district as the Stade de France, where suicide attackers detonated bombs on Friday.

Reports on French TV say two suspects are thought to have died, including a woman with a suicide belt who has blown herself up. Some police officers have been wounded in the operation.

A BBC correspondent at the scene says she heard a succession of explosions and flashes, along with heavy gunfire.

The operation began at around 04:30 local time (03:30 GMT). Deputy Mayor Stephane Peu urged local residents to stay indoors, saying “it is not a new attack but a police intervention”.

Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, had been thought to have organised Friday’s attacks from Syria.

The near simultaneous attacks on bars and restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade du France also left more than 400 people wounded, with 221 still in hospital, 57 of them in intensive care.

Earlier, security sources said surveillance video showed a possible ninth assailant during the attacks.

The video reportedly shows a third figure in the car carrying the group which attacked several bars and restaurants.

It is not clear if this ninth attacker is one of two suspected accomplices detained in Belgium or is someone still on the run.

The deadly attacks have put European countries on high alert. On Tuesday evening, a football friendly between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled shortly before kick-off and the stadium in Hanover evacuated after “concrete” information about a bomb threat, according to the city’s police chief.

Part of Hanover railway station was also closed while a suspicious object was investigated.

Meanwhile, two Air France planes heading to Paris from the US were diverted because of security threats. One was sent to Halifax in Canada, the other flew to Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah. Both planes landed safely and the passengers were unharmed.

BBC

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