(Updated at 9.05 a.m. PT)
Authorities killed two brothers on Friday believed to be responsible for gunning down 12 people during an assault on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to CNN and the Mayor of Dammartin-en-Goele in France. A hostage they were holding was freed, according to the Mayor.
Shortly after the the brothers — Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32 — were killed, another suspect believed to be tied to them who shot and killed a female police officer on Thursday in Montrouge (a southern suburb of Paris) was killed by French police after holding hostages at a kosher grocery store just outside of Paris. CNN and French officials report some hostages were killed at the grocery store. A woman believed to have aided the third suspect in Thursday’s Montrouge police killing is still at large.
The brothers and the third suspect’s killings came after hours of tense standoffs between elite French counter-terror forces and the suspects. The brothers reportedly told forces they wanted to “die as martyrs.” TV news outlets report they were members of Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
On Thursday, law enforcement fingered the Kouachi brothers for robbing a gas station in northern France, where they are said to have stolen both food and gas, after which police helicopters and heavily armed anti-terrorist units converged upon the region searching for the suspects.
The search then narrowed down to 51-square-mile forest Villers-Cotterêts, near Forêt de Retz, according to the French interior minister. The forest is 50 miles east of a town where an apartment was searched Wednesday night, and Crépy-en-Valois, which police sealed off earlier on Thursday. Nine other people were taken into custody and police had questioned at least 90 others.
According to multiple reports, the two suspects were in the U.S. database of known or suspected international terrorists, known as TIDE, and also had been on the no-fly list for years. It is also believed that one of the brothers recently spent time in Yemen associating with Al-Qaeda in that country.
As TheWrap previously reported, 12 people were killed and 11 more were wounded during the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Parisian headquarters on Wednesday morning. Among the victims who died in the terrorist attack were acclaimed French cartoonist Jean Cabut, editorial director Stéphane Charbonnier, and two police officers. Cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlag were also discovered among the dead, and later psychiatrist Elsa Cayat was identified. The newspaper housed some of France’s most acclaimed cartoonists.
The gunmen, who wore bulletproof vests and dressed in black, initially infiltrated the wrong building, but found the correct address for the satirical publication by threatening a postal worker they came across. When they arrived, they apprehended a cartoonist named Corinne Rey, who was trying to exit the building to pick up her daughter, and forced her — at gunpoint — to allow them entry into the Charlie Hebdo offices.
Once inside the gunmen are said to have shouted “Allahu akbar” and “You will pay, because you insulted the prophet” as they opened fire on the employees in the office. A police car attempted to block their exit outside the building, but the gumen opened fire, riddling it with bullets and then escaped.
Paris then went on high alert and a manhunt was soon underway. Eventually authorities released the names and pictures of their suspects.
French citizens, sympathetic journalists and many people of varying occupations and nationalities used social media to show their support for the victims later on that evening and tweeted out messages with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie.”)
On Thursday, before the suspects were apprehended, a gunman who was also dressed in black and wearing a bulletproof vest, shot and killed a police officer in Montrouge, a Paris suburb. One person was arrested in connection with that incident, according to Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman, but it’s unknown whether that person is believed to be the shooter.
Authorities are referring to the murder of that female police officer as a terrorist attack, but they haven’t yet said whether they believed it to be linked to the assault on the Charlie Hebdo offices.