Shortly after 5 p.m. in France, two simultaneous hostage standoffs came to dramatic conclusions amid gunshots and explosions.
The mayor of the town of Dammartin-en-Goële announced that Said and Cherif Kouachi – the brothers suspected of being behind Wednesday’s attack in Paris on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 – were themselves dead.
Early Friday, the two had been trapped in a Dammartin-en-Goële printing plant within a vast warehouse complex. The town is near Charles de Gaulle Airport, 25 miles north of Paris.
Throughout the day, an unidentified male employee of the warehouse remained hidden in an office behind cardboard boxes, according to reports.
Using his cellphone, he contacted the police and remained in touch throughout the day, informing them of the brothers’ location, movements and armaments.
The employee was released unhurt once the brothers were killed.
Also on Friday, a gunman opened fire at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris and took at least five people hostage. Police officials say at least four people, including the shooter, are dead.
Police said the gunman, who has been identified as 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly, had links to the Kouachi brothers. They also blamed the hostage-taker for Thursday’s murder of a French policewoman who was gunned down during an unrelated traffic stop on a Paris street. One of the two suspects in that shooting, a female identified as 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddienne, is still at large.
• With reporting by PETER MIKELBANK