Paris attack: Search continues as French police question sister and wives of two brothers suspected of Charlie Hebdo massacre

Search is focusing on area just north of Paris after brothers were spotted holding up a petrol station yesterday

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The Independent Online

The manhunt for the two men suspected of the murder of 12 people has entered its third day as thousands of French police continue to search a vast area of forest north of Paris.

More than 88,000 French police have been mobilised to find brothers Chérif and Said Kouachi, 32 and 34, suspected of the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left eight journalists, two policemen, a maintenance man and a visitor to the offices dead.

Today, reports indicated that French police were questioning a sister of the Kouachi brothers along with their two wives.

Last night thousands again took to the streets of Paris in tribute to those killed.

As the lights on Paris’ most famous landmarks went out to mark the dead, helicopters circled overhead the forest of Retz near the small French town of Crepy en Valois after the brothers broke cover yesterday and held up a petrol station nearby on one of the main routes out of the capital. The search – halted last night – has resumed this morning with fresh officers, including a group from elite counter-terrorist unit RAID.

With scarce sightings of either brother, believed to be French-Algerian orphans born in Paris but raised in Reims, concerns are growing that they may have slipped through the net and made the border to Belgium.

 

Yesterday, 27-year-old policewoman Clarissa Jean-Philippe– who had been active for just 15 days – was shot dead in a south Paris suburb, prompting fears of copycat and repeat attacks in France.

Two men were arrested last night in connection with the attack, but French police were not releasing more information at this stage.

There are also concerns of possible reprisal attacks against French Muslims and Arabs.

In the wake of the attack France has increased its security level to the maximum level as British officials confirmed an increased in border security amid warnings from the Director of the Security Services that the threat of an attack was growing.  

An international meeting on terrorism is planned for Sunday in Paris, with European and American representatives attending.

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