A Young Woman Blew Herself Up During A Police Operation In Paris. Here Are The Details

Heavy gunfire and explosions rocked the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis on Wednesday as the French police raided an apartment building, looking for the Belgian militant suspected of masterminding the Paris terrorist attacks.

Cover image via BBC/AP

Earlier on Wednesday, a young woman — said to a relative of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of Friday's gun and bomb attacks in Paris which killed more than 120 people — detonated a bomb, killing herself, as French security forces carried out raids in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, the BBC reported

Police officers at the scene of a raid in St.-Denis, north of Paris, on Wednesday. The raid was aimed at detaining a Belgian militant suspected of organizing the attacks in Paris on Friday that killed 129 people.

Image via Francois Mori/AP

Additionally, a suspect was shot dead, while 7 arrests were made

Three men were arrested in the apartment. Two others were found hiding in rubble and a further two - including the man who provided the lodging - were also detained, Prosecutor Francois Molins said. He did not give the identities of those detained.

The operation in Saint-Denis - where the Stade de France is located - began at 04:20 (03.20 GMT). Speaking from the scene afterwards, Mr Molins said it had been ordered after phone taps and surveillance operations suggested Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan descent, could be there.

The prosecutor said a young woman - said by France's BFMTV to be a relative of Abaaoud - had detonated her explosives belt soon after the raid began. Another suspect was killed by grenades and police bullets, Mr Molins said.

A man being detaned by the French police during the raid.

Image via BBC/AP

The prosecutor, François Molins, said that Mr. Abaaoud and another fugitive, Salah Abdeslam, were not among those arrested. But he said the authorities were not certain about the number of dead, or their identities, leaving open the possibility that either or both men might still be on the run. “As I speak, I am unable to give you a definitive number and identities of people killed,” he said.

The police fired more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition

Mr. Molins said the fighting was so intense — the police fired more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and a gun battle went on with hardly any interruption for nearly an hour, he said — that it could take some time for the authorities to determine what had happened inside the building, which was at risk of collapse.

Mr. Molins said the assault was one result of an investigation that is gathering steam. “A new team of terrorists was neutralized, and all elements suggest that with regards to their armament, their structured organization and their determination, this commando group could have taken action,” he said.

The raid was so intense that the building was at risk of collapse; workers had to shore it up to prevent it falling, the NYT reported

The ferocity of the fighting at the flat could be seen in the impacts on the wall afterwards.

Image via BBC/AFP

As the operation got under way, roads were blocked off around Rue de la Republique in Saint-Denis, by lorry-loads of soldiers and armed police. Local residents, who were urged to stay indoors, spoke of hearing continuous gunshots and large explosions.

Amine Guizani told the Associated Press: "They were shooting for an hour, non-stop. There were grenades. It was going, stopping, Kalashnikovs, starting again."

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the security forces for operating "under fire for a number of hours in conditions that we have never seen before today".

5 members of the RAID police anti-terrorism unit were injured while a RAID "assault dog", a 7-year-old Belgian Shepherd called Diesel, was "killed by terrorists," the French national police tweeted

In another tweet, French national police said dogs like Diesel are "indispensable" in operations like the one in Saint-Denis:

After the police announced Diesel's death, his name started trending, along with multiple hashtags in his honor. One of the most popular hashtag is #JeSuisChien or "I am dog," modeled after the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag from January's Charlie Hebdo attacks.

PS: The police have not released any photos of Diesel the dog.


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