A gunman and gunwoman are holding the hostages in the Jewish grocery store in Vincennes in the east of Paris and there are reports that two people have died. Sources tell us that a fourth incident at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower is a false alarm, as the head of MI5 warns that Britain is at risk of a “mass casualty attack”.
Reports from Israeli TV have said that among the hostages are a woman and her six-month-old baby. The gunman and woman at the second siege have been named as Amedy Coulibaly, 33, the man who shot and killed cop Clarissa Jean-Philippe, 27, yesterday and his partner Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.
Coulibaly is reported to have told police “you know who I am” in an apparent reference to the shooting of Miss Jean-Philippe. A witness at the second siege has said: “There was an individual, African, who had a Kalashnikov…and he immediately went into the deli and he started shooting with his Kalashnikov.”
Coulibaly is said to be a known associate of Cherif Kouachi, the younger of the two brothers who opened fire at the satirical magazine’s offices on Wednesday, killing 12. The Kouachi brothers are holding a hostage in a printing warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, near Charles de Gaulle airport in north-eastern Paris.
They have said to negotiators they wanted to “die as martyrs”. Kosher businesses across Paris have shut their door as the city is in lockdown with dozens of police vans lining the streets.
Photos show police pointing handguns at young men on scooters before bundling them onto the floor on the streets of eastern Paris as security levels reach an all-time high. France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve rushed to the scene at Porte de Vincennes, Le Figaro reported.
President Hollande is overseeing operations in the Elysee’s situation room as the two hostage situations unfold. There are reports that police in Paris are on the streets with “unholstered pistols” as fears that the terrorist cell could strike again are heightened.