French police raided an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis early Wednesday morning in a search for the suspected mastermind behind the Paris terror attacks, the Associated Press reports. Multiple reports indicate that French authorities may have thwarted another terror attack on Paris in the process.
The siege ended with two dead and seven suspects in custody; according to the AP, the dead include a woman "who blew herself up with an explosive vest and a man hit by projectiles and grenades." Five French police officers suffered minor injuries while a police dog was killed during the operation.
Some reports indicate the counterterrorism raid likely thwarted an imminent terror attack. Police sources told CNN that the suspects in the apartment were "about to move on some kind of operation," while multiple law enforcement sources told Reuters the raid "stopped a jihadist cell that had been planning an attack on Paris's business district, La Defense." Here's a bit more context, from CNN:
Phone surveillance and testimony led authorities to believe [Abaaoud], the suspected ringleader of last week's bloody Paris attacks, may have been in an apartment in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
Officials didn't say immediately if Abaaoud, a Belgian ISIS member widely believed to have been in Syria recently, was among the dead or detained. Still, they lauded the efforts of the heavily armed police involved in the operation that ended, after several tense hours, shortly before noon Wednesday.
The daring overnight operation is just the latest in a series of hundreds of police raids across Europe conducted by counterterrorism forces. European authorities have detained more than 130 terrorism suspects and counting.
In the aftermath of the raid, French president Francois Hollande told a conference of mayors that the disruption of the terror cell in Saint-Denis “confirms that we are at war," per the New York Times.
"It is the entire country that's been attacked," Hollande said. "For what it represents, the fight we are leading to eradicate terrorism. And simply for what we are."