2 Charlie Hebdo suspects killed as twin siege ends

2 Charlie Hebdo suspects killed as twin siege ends

4 hostages dead in dramatic climax to Paris standoffs

2 Charlie Hebdo suspects killed as twin siege ends

Elite French police stormed a printworks and a Jewish supermarket on Friday, killing two brothers wanted for the Charlie Hebdo attack and a gunman linked to them in a dramatic end to twin sieges that rocked France.

As shots and explosions rang out in the City of Light, five people, including the gunman, were found dead in the aftermath of the assault on the Jewish store in eastern Paris and several captives were freed, security sources said.

Four people were in critical condition after the raid, as ambulances raced to the scene, joining a jam of police vans, helicopters buzzing overhead.

The dramatic climax to the two standoffs brought to an end more than 48 hours of fear and uncertainty that began when the two brothers slaughtered 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the bloodiest attack on French soil in half a century. The weekly had lampooned jihadists and repeatedly published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed which angered many Muslims.

A woman living in an apartment two storeys above the supermarket said she heard “two big bangs and gunfire that lasted around a minute” when the assault started.

About 30 km to the northeast, in the small town of Dammartin-en-Goele, the two Islamist Charlie Hebdo gunmen staged a desperate escape bid, charging out of the building all guns blazing at the security forces before being cut down in their tracks. Police confirmed their identity as Cherif and Said Kouachi, French-born orphans of Algerian origin. The other hostage-taker in eastern Paris was also suspected of gunning down a policewoman on Thursday.

The spectacular attacks came as it emerged the brothers had been on a US terror watch list “for years”.

As fears spread in the wake of the attack, the head of Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 warned Islamist militants were planning other “mass casualty attacks against the West” and intelligence services may be powerless to stop them.