UK

Saint Denis Siege: Armed Police Storm Apartment In Hunt For Paris Attacks Mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud

18/11/2015 10:39 GMT | Updated 18/11/2015 11:59 GMT

Two killed in early morning armed raids

Including female suicide bomber who blew herself up

Seven people arrested

Five police officers injured

Residents in the Paris suburb of Saint Denis were on Tuesday awoken by the sounds of gunfire and explosions as police raided an apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week’s attacks on the capital was believed to be holed up.

Investigators have identified 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian of Moroccan descent, as the chief architect of Friday's attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people and injured 350 others.

French intelligence sources had indicated they believe Abdelhamid was inside the apartment with five other heavily armed suspects when the raid began.

A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up as heavily armed officers tried to storm the apartment and a man was killed when he was hit by a grenade. Seven people have been arrested. The operation concluded mid-morning though the identity of those killed and arrested is unclear.

Residents said an explosion shook the neighborhood at about 4am and at 7.30am at least seven explosions shook the area.

Grenade blasts were also reported. These images show how the incident unfolded.

Saint-Denis is one of France's most historic places. French kings were crowned and buried through the centuries in its famed basilica. Today it is home to a vibrant and very ethnically diverse population and sees sporadic tension between police and violent youths.

Saint Denis Raids