Two brothers suspected to have been a part of the killing of 12 people at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been killed at the conclusion of a standoff at a printing warehouse outside Paris.
World media focused its full attention on the warehouse today in Dammartin En Goele, where Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi had taken a hostage and holed themselves up on the third day of a massive nationwide manhun. As nightfall approached in France, at least three major explosions were heard and European and U.S. networks showed live shots of smoke plumes rising from the building. Soon after, media reports surfaced that a raid on the building had been undertaken and was concluded.
AP made it official, quoting police:
Not wanting to repeat NBC News’ erroneous report earlier this week, U.S. networks appeared cautious to report definitive news without official confirmation. At 8:30 AM PT, CBS reported during its special report that French media were saying the brothers were dead. NBC soon followed; conscious of its previous mistake in the story, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie said this morning “multiple reports from media in France” were “unconfirmed by NBC.” Fox New Channel’s Jon Scoot announced the death of the suspects on-air at 8:31 AM PT. ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos at 8:39 AM PT said the brothers were dead based on information from French officials. About the same time, CNN reported the mayor of Dammartin En Goele said the two were dead.
At the same time, a second raid was underway after six people were said to have been taken hostage in a kosher supermarket in Paris by at least one gunman. The suspect is believed to be connected to the fatal shooting of a female Paris police officer on Thursday. Media outlets scrambled to cover both seemingly simultaneous police raids undertaken by France’s National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, a special forces unit, and gunfire in the Paris streets was heard during live shots on networks worldwide. The main suspect there was also killed, according to media reports.
“We got some double-barreled good news here,” said Fox Business host Stuart Varney live on the air around 8:45 AM PT. “The bad guys are dead and the hostages are released, I don’t know about unharmed but they’re released, they’re out.”
Soon after 9 AM PT, CBS cut back to its regularly scheduled Let’s Make A Deal on the West Coast. ABC and NBC stayed on the situation in France.
On Wednesday, the third of the three suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shootings surrendered to police in the evening after the attack on the Paris office of the magazine, which previously was targeted by extremists after it published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in November 2011 and its offices were firebombed. The magazine’s latest tweet before the attack had been a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Eyewitnesses at the scene described it as “carnage.”
The city of Paris went into shock and was shut down as a manhunt for the gunmen immediately got underway after they escaped following a shootout on the streets with police. Parisians gathered in masses at impromptu rallies to mourn the victims and affirm the importance of free speech, and the world rallied in support behind France.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack, describing it as “an exceptional act of barbarism committed against a newspaper.” He also told reporters that security forces had foiled a number of terrorist plots in recent weeks.
France is home to one of Europe’s biggest Muslim populations, with more than 5 million. Over the years, questions of integration and assimilation have remained sensitive subjects.