PHOTOS: Paris suburb raid leaves 2 dead
SAINT-DENIS, France — A woman blew herself up as elite French police raided an apartment while hunting high-level terrorism suspects wanted over last week’s Paris attacks, officials said.
Heavy gunfire was reported for several hours beginning around 4:30 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday) in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Another person was also killed while seven others were arrested during the operation.
A woman detonated a suicide vest as the apartment was stormed, according to the Paris Prosecutor’s Office. It was not immediately clear how the second person died.
Five police officers and a passerby were injured during the incident. A police dog named Diesel was also killed.
Officials confirmed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian jihadist who is suspected of being a lynchpin in the assaults that killed 129 people in Paris on Friday, was one of several people targeted by the raid. However, it was not immediately clear whether Abaaoud was among those arrested or was ever in the apartment.
Several explosions could be heard around 7:30 a.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET), about three hours into the operation. By 11:40 a.m. local time (5:40 a.m. ET), authorities confirmed that the assault was over.
Veronique Haounoh, 43, was holed-up in an apartment across the street from the operation with several neighbors and heard “explosions at irregular intervals.”
“We heard so many booms,” she told NBC News. “I’m shaking. We are very scared, I can’t stop crying.”
Additional reporting by Jake Cigainero and Richard Engel.