Timeline of Saint Denis terrorist raid in Paris

Two suspects have been killed, one holed up in Paris apartment surrounded by police

Two assailants are killed in clashes during a raid by French police targeting the supsected mastermind of Friday's Paris attacks. Video: Reuters

 

This is how the latest events in Paris unfolded this morning, with all times local:

* 4.25am (3.25am GMT): French police and security forces launch a major operation in the north Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, believed to have Abdelhamid Abaaoud, mastermind of Friday’s attacks, as its target.

* Swarms of Swat police supported by military units are seen surrounding an apartment building in Rue du Cornillon, a historic street in a culturally diverse area less than 2km from the Stade de France, where terrorists struck on Friday in the first of a series of attacks that left 129 people dead.

* According to a senior French police official, Abaaoud has barricaded himself in the flat with up to five heavily armed accomplices.

In an initial offensive, scores of police officers storm the building, although they are held back when they meet heavy resistance and suffer several casualties.

*5.55am: Vehicles carrying French soldiers and a number of ambulances are seen rushing towards Saint-Denis.

Surrounding roads are sealed off and residents are told to stay indoors.

Deputy Mayor Stephane Peu reassures Parisians that police activity, gunfire and explosions are not a sign of a fresh attack but an “intervention”.

*6.27am: A helicopter is seen circling over the apartment block and a pedestrian area at the centre of the siege.

Saint-Denis Mayor Didier Paillard says schools in the area will not open and transport has been stopped.

*6.55am: More police reinforcements arrive at the scene.

* 7.20am: Intense gunfire and at least four explosions are heard in Saint-Denis, with some claiming to have heard the sound of grenades.

Police in riot gear move to clear civilian bystanders from the streets.

*7.35am: Witnesses describe hearing at least three more explosions likened to grenade blasts coming from the building.

Police officials say several officers have been injured, although their condition is unknown.

*7.45am: Security forces evacuate around 20 people living in the building at the centre of the stand-off.

It is not clear if children or the elderly are among those rescued. They are said to have been taken 200 yards to the City Hall for protection.

*8.20am: Police announce that two suspects - a man and a woman - were killed in the operation and two suspects detained, although it is not known if Abaaoud is among them, dead or alive.

Two police officers are said to have suffered injuries in the stand-off.

*8.40am It emerges that one of the early explosions heard at the scene was from a woman detonating a suicide vest.

The number of injured police officers rises to four.

*9.00am: Paris prosecutors announce that three suspects have been arrested in the raid and another man and woman are arrested nearby.

*9.20am: Police officials in Denmark announce that they have raised the country’s internal threat level to “significant elevated preparedness” in response to events in Paris and other European countries.

The country’s intelligence agency keeps its own assessment of the risk as “serious”.

*9.30am: One suspect remains in the apartment at the centre of the five-hour siege. The number of arrests rises to five, including one woman.

*10.00am: French authorities confirm the death of a police dog in the operation.

*10.10am: French President Francois Hollande holds an emergency meeting with ministers and advisers at the Elysee Palace to monitor the unfolding situation in Saint-Denis.

*10.20am: Local television reports that five police officers suffered minor injuries in the operation. Witnesses say the normally bustling streets of northern

Paris are deserted, with the silence only punctured by sirens.

One describes the vibrant district of Saint-Denis as having “all the hallmarks of a war zone”, with troops, scared locals and empty shops. More military personnel are seen arriving on the scene.

*10.34am: Witnesses claim one man was seen being escorted from the building at the centre of the siege by armed police.

No gunfire has been heard for more than two hours by this stage.

PA