French anti-terrorism police converged on an area northeast of Paris on Thursday after two brothers suspected of being behind the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were spotted at a petrol station in the region.
France's prime minister said on Thursday he feared the Islamist militants who killed 12 people could strike again as a manhunt for two men widened across the country.
Two police sources said that the men were seen armed and wearing cagoules in a Renault Clio car at a petrol station on a secondary road in Villers-Cotterets some 70 kilometres from the French capital.
Amid French media reports the men had abandoned their car, Bruno Fortier, the mayor of neighbouring Crepy-en-Valois, said helicopters were circling his town and police and anti-terrorism forces were deploying en masse.
"It's an incessant waltz of police cars and trucks," he told Reuters, adding that he could not confirm reports the men were holed up in a house in the area.
A policewoman was killed in a shootout in Paris earlier in the day, but police sources could not immediately confirm a link with Wednesday's killings at the Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper that marked the worst attack on French soil for decades.
1:47 A.M. Obama visits French embassy to pay respects
President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to the French Embassy in Washington on Thursday to pay his respects and express solidarity with the French people.
Obama wrote in a condolensces book that he extended U.S. sympathy and solidarity to the French people. "As allies across the centuries, we stand united with our French brothers to ensure that justice is done and our way of life is defended. We go forward together knowing that terror is no match for freedom and ideals we stand for - ideals that light the world," he wrote. (Reuters)
00:57 A.M. Charlie Hebdo to print 1 million copies next week
Charlie Hebdo will publish its next edition on Wednesday, a lawyer for the French satirical magazine told the AFP news agency, despite the deadly shooting at its Paris headquarters.
One million copies will be printed, lawyer Richard Malka said, far above the magazine's usual circulation that numbers in the tens of thousands.
00:56 A.M. Manhunt to continue overnight with five helicopters, French police says
Le Monde reported that police has given no new information on the manhunt for the suspects around the village of Longpont, northern France. The search will continue with the aid of five helicopters overnight, a police officer said according to AFP.
00:17 A.M. Brothers were on U.S. no-fly list for years, unnamed sources say
Cherif and Said Kouachi, brothers suspected of the Paris attack, had been on a U.S. no-fly list for years, and were on a database of terrorists called TIDE, unnamed U.S. officials are cited as saying by U.S. media.
00:13 A.M. American official: Said Kouachi trained with Al-Qaida in Yemen
An unnamed American official told CNN the U.S. has received information from the French intelligence service that Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011, where he trained with Al-Qaida militants. According to the official, the training included firearm usage, and possibly bomb making as well. In addition, a French intelligence source told CNN the possibility is examined that one of the brothers – it's unclear which – visited Syria last year.
00:05 A.M. Canada's Harper: Jihadists have declared war, world must respond
The deadly attacks in Paris serve as a vivid reminder that jihadists are at war with those they disagree with, and the world must confront them, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.
"The international jihadist movement has declared war. They have declared war on anybody who does not think and act exactly as they wish they'd think and act," Harper told reporters when asked about Wednesday's attack.
"We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it's not going to go away, and the reality is we are going to have to confront it."
Harper spoke as a manhunt was underway in France for two brothers suspected of being the Islamist gunmen who killed 12 people in Wednesday's attack on a satirical weekly newspaper in Paris.
Harper said any doubts in Canada about the reality of threats posed by such extremists should have vanished on Oct. 22. That was the day when a radicalized Canadian gunman killed a soldier at the national war memorial and then stormed the Parliament building. (Reuters)
10:00 P.M. Vehicle explodes south of Paris, in the suburb of Villejuif, Le Monde reports. It is yet unclear what caused the explosion, and whether it is linked to the Charlie Hebdo attack, the paper reported. Nobody was wounded in the blast. (Haaretz)
9:45 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets image of letter he sent to French Prime Minister Francois Hollande:
9:22 P.M. The lights of the Eiffel Tower are dimmed in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo victims. (Reuters)
9:20 P.M. Former president Shimon Peres offered his condolences to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in a memorial gathering held at the house of the French Ambassador's residence in Jaffa. " The victims died in the fight for freedom," said Peres. "they were soldiers in the army of thought and hope. A freedom that was so costly and fragile. I know that your heart is still. But I am certain that freedom will prevail, France will prevail."
The French Ambassador thanked the Israeli public for showing solidarity. "No horrifying act will succeed in chopping down freedom – and like Israel that knows to stand unified and to respond, thus France will stand unified, like a wall against the terror." (Haaretz)
9:15 P.M. French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve was quoted by Le Monde as saying there’s no link “at this stage” between the attack in in southern Paris this morning in which a policewoman and a street cleaner were shot, and the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.
9:12 P.M. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, will travel to Paris on Sunday to discuss ways to counter violent extremism in the wake of the deadly attack, a Justice Department official said on Thursday.
Holder was invited Thursday by the French minister of interior to attend an international meeting convened as a response to Wednesday's shooting.
The United States has offered assistance to French investigators in tracking down those responsible, which French police have identified as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. (Reuters)
7:14 P.M. EU governments and officials are discussing responses to the killing of French journalists in Paris and could propose new policies in the coming weeks, officials said on Thursday.
"We must in the days to come, make sure that this pain transforms itself into concrete actions," the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a news conference in Riga. "With the pain, we have already begun to work on the response."
One issue likely to be discussed further is a proposal for EU states to share records of air passengers -- a measure that has been held up in the European Parliament over privacy concerns. (Reuters)
6:00 P.M. Disagreement in France's ruling Socialist party on whether Marine le Pen's extreme right-wing Front National should participate in the mass rally planned for Paris on Sunday, the Guardian reports.
The FN's treasurer earlier tweeted that to exclude his party from Sunday’s rally will be exclude 30% of the French electorate, according to the report. (Haaretz)
4:20 P.M. Hatnuah leader MK Tzipi Livni on the Paris shooting: "We [Israelis] feel the same anger when terror hits us - and that is why we will not accept any attempt to sue our soldiers in The Hague."
3:39 P.M. The two suspects in the shooting have barricaded themselves in a house in the town of Crépy-en-Valois, and are surrounded by special police units, Le Figaro reported, citing the France 3 network. The town is located some 60 km (37 mi) northeast of the center of Paris. Meanwhile, Paris police have named the two police officers killed in the attack, NBC reports: Franck Brinsolaro and Ahmed Merabet. (Haaretz)
2:50 P.M. The Guardian reports that the next edition of the Charlie Hebdo magazine will come out Wednesday, and that a million copies are to be printed. According to the report, the magazine's weekly circulation is normally 45,000. Google plans to dedicate a quarter of a million pounds to the publication, the Guradian reports. (Haaretz)
2:37 P.M. The two suspects in the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine's office have robbed a service station in the north of France, the BBC reports, citing French media.
According to the report, they stole food and gas and fired shots at the station near the town of Villers-Cotterets, in northern France. (Haaretz)
2:00 P.M. Britain says it has increased border security. The move is not based on specific intelligence, it says. (Reuters)
1:42 P.M. The latest issue of the Charlie Hebdo magazine is to come out next week, despite the attack, AFP reports. (Haaretz)
1:37 P.M. Moments of silence were held across France and at the European Parliament in Brussels early on Thursday afternoon to remember the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
1:28 P.M. France's main Muslim organizations call for imams across the country to preach against terrorism during Friday prayers, in the wake of the deadly shooting at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
In a joint statement, the seven organizations call for "imams in all the mosques of France to condemn with the greatest firmness violence and terrorism from wherever it comes."
They also urge the Muslim faithful to take part in a "dignified and silent gathering" following Friday prayers to honor the victims, as well as in national commemorative events being held in France.
"Muslim organizations, profoundly shocked and saddened by the murder of our journalist and police compatriots, associate themselves and empathize with the pain of the victims' families and want to show their national solidarity," the statement says. (DPA)
1:20 P.M. Large police forces are deployed in Paris in preparation for the eventual apprehension of the suspects in the magazine attack, according to AFP. (Haaretz)
12:41 P.M. Two brothers suspected of perpetrating the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices were spotted in a gas station near the town of Villers-Cotteret, in France's northern Aisne region, AFP reported, citing sources close to the manhunt.
According to French media, the two suspects were aremd and were driving in the direction of Paris in a white Renault Clio. They were said to be wearing masks and rain coats, and their weapons were visible from the back of the vehicle. (Haaretz)
12:17 P.M. French President Francois Hollande says the country has been "struck in the heart" of its capital city in the attacks on a satirical newspaper that killed 12.
Hollande spoke Thursday morning during a national day of mourning. (AP)
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now