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Two killed as hunt for Paris attack mastermind intensifies

Paris: One person was shot dead and a woman suicide bomber blew herself up on Wednesday here as the police mounted a major operation to get the man who masterminded the Paris terror attack, media reports said.

As many as seven deafening blasts shook the Paris suburb of Saint Denis and heavy gunfire broke out at about 4.30 a.m. when the police surrounded an apartment where key suspect Abdelhamid Abaaoud was holed up.

Al Jazeera reported that suspects of the deadly November 13 Paris attacks that left at least 129 people dead were in that apartment. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Friday night’s horrific attacks.

Christian, a resident of Saint Denis’ rue de la République, told local French channel BFMTV that there was noise of gunfire and police fired shots into an apartment. Later blasts smashed the windows in the flat and a mattress was flung out of the window, The Telegraph reported.

Sources told Al Jazeera that two people were killed and two others were detained in the operation. The report said it was not clear who the victims were. Three police officers were also wounded in the initial shoot-out, the sources said.

A passer-by was killed during gunfire, reported Xinhua, citing BFMTV. The Telegraph reported that a woman suicide bomber blew herself up.

The target of the police operation was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the key suspect of the terror attacks at six locations in Paris, leaving over 350 injured.

Another suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was also said to be a target in the raid.

Heavily armed special police units and ambulances gathered at the scene as a helicopter hovered over the area.

Al Jazeera described Saint-Denis a relatively poor area, housing many immigrants. It is near the area of the national stadium Stade de France, where suicide bombers had struck on Friday.

Officials said they blocked off a street in the area, as ambulances and fire engines lined the streets.

(IANS)

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