Paris attack: Policewoman shot dead

Protesters at Place de la Republique in Paris. Picture: Getty
Protesters at Place de la Republique in Paris. Picture: Getty
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Two men being hunted over the massacre of staff at the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo have been spotted in northern France.

Local media said two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo attack were seen armed and getting into a Renault Clio in Aisne, a region to the north-east of the capital.

The sighting was said to have been reported to police by a petrol station worker.

It comes after police and security forces mounted a nationwide manhunt for brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi.

The operation was launched after masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people in France’s worst terrorist atrocity since 1961.

Police are also searching for the perpetrator of a separate shooting in which a policewoman was killed just outside Paris this morning.

It is unclear whether there is any link between the two incidents.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve cautioned against jumping to conclusions the day after masked gunmen killed 12 people, including two police, in an assault on a satirical newspaper.

There were short vigils held aroudn the world today as a mark of respect. In France bells rang out, Paris public transport stood still and children sat silent.

French president Francois Hollande ordered flags at half-mast and a moment of silence to honour the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, which had caricatured the Prophet Mohammed. Witnesses said the attackers claimed allegiance to al Qaida.

Onlookers wept while listening to bells peal at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.

The rector of the Paris Mosque called on Muslims to observe the moment of silence and honour victims of this “exceptional violence”.

Mr Hollande called on the French to unite against terrorism and intolerance.

Police hunting the terrorists behind yesterday’s massacre have made seven arrests.

Photographs of two prime suspects in the Paris attack have been released by police as a third man handed himself in.

The seven who were arrested were detained in the towns of Reims and Charleville-Mezieres, as well as in the Paris area, police said. They are understood to be connected to the two main suspects.

Hamyd Mourad, 18, surrendered to a police station in the Champagne region yesterday evening, after seeing his name circulating on social media in connection with the attack.

But a massive manhunt continued for the other two named suspects, Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi. Police warned the brothers – French nationals in their 30s with possible links to al Qaida – should be considered armed and dangerous.

Heavily armed police had stormed a flat in the city of Reims, east of Paris, searching for the suspects without success.

Cherif Kouachi was sentenced in 2008 to three years in prison for belonging to a Paris-based group sending jihadist fighters to Iraq.

French prime minister Manuel Valls said the main concern was to prevent another attack.

Twelve people died in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly newspaper that had been threatened before for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed.

The terror attack has been condemned by global leaders and France’s president Francois Hollande has declared a national day of mourning today following the bloody raid – France’s worst terror attack since 1961.

A vigil was held outside the French consulate in Edinburgh last night and a rose was left at the door as a symbol of solidarity with the victims.

Home Secretary Theresa May was chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra today.

And Prime Minister David Cameron has offered the assistance of British spies to help French agencies investigate the atrocity.

France has raised its terror alert system to the maximum – Attack Alert – and bolstered security, with more than 800 extra soldiers to guard media offices, places of worship, and other possible targets.

The masked gunmen stormed the magazine’s headquarters armed with automatic rifles in the middle of yesterday’s morning editorial meeting. They shouted “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest – as they opened fire indiscriminately, killing a number of the publication’s staff and two police officers.

A chilling video captures the pair moments later climb 
out of their black car and calmly jog towards a police officer as he lies injured on the floor, and gun him down before fleeing.

Eight journalists, two police officers, a maintenance worker and a visitor were killed and 11 people were wounded – four of them seriously.

The attackers shouted “we have avenged the prophet” after the shooting.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the atrocity.