Two suspected extremists were killed and seven arrested during a seven-hour raid in a Paris suburb early Wednesday morning as part of a vigorous French effort to uproot the networks responsible for Friday night’s terror attacks.


According to multiple reports, a woman used a suicide vest to blow herself up as police stormed the apartment in the suburb of Saint-Denis before dawn. The second person killed inside the apartment died during the firefight.

The target was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Belgium national who has been fingered as the mastermind of Friday’s massacre, which killed 129 people across the French capital, French prosecutor François Molins told multiple news outlets. Abaaoud was previously believed to have been in Syria, where he has traveled in the past, but intelligence captured from phone taps and surveillance suggested that he might have been inside the apartment, Molins said.

It remains unclear whether he was among those captured in the raid.

“It is currently impossible to give you the identities of the people who were arrested, which are being verified,” Molins, said, according to The New York Times. “Everything will be done to determine who is who.”

Five police officers were lightly injured during the raid, CNN reported, and a police dog was killed.

The raid reportedly began around 4:00 a.m. local time, and involved more than 100 police officers, who let off sporadic bursts of gunshots while forcing their way into the apartment.

A man in the neighborhood told Reuters that he had rented out the apartment to two people last week.

"Someone asked me a favor, I did them a favor,” he said. “Someone asked me to put two people up for three days and I did them a favor, it's normal. I don't know where they came from I don't know anything.”

The man was subsequently arrested, Reuters reported.

Wednesday morning's “perilous police operation” is another sign that the West is “at war” with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), French President François Hollande said.

“The aim of the operation was to neutralize, last night, terrorists set up in Saint-Denis,” Hollande said.

Speaking to French mayors after the raid, Hollande warned against reprisals targeting the nation’s Muslim community. He added that refugees in France are also victims of the same terror, adding that he is committed to taking in 30,000 new refugees over the next two years.

"France will remain a country of freedom," he told a gathering of France's mayors. “Life must restart in full. What would France be without its museums, without its terraces, its concerts, its sports competitions? France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.”

President Obama, who is currently traveling in the Philippines, was briefed on the action, a White House official said.

"This is a French law enforcement operation, but the president asked to be updated as appropriate," the official said.

--Mark Hensch contributed to this report, which was updated at 8:20 a.m.