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Police Identify Suspects In Paris Attack That Killed 12


The story of the pair of shootings is far from over. Gunmen killed a dozen people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine yesterday. And despite some false reports, even the news that a man turned himself into authorities, two suspected gunmen are still at large. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is covering this story in Paris. Eleanor, where are you, and what are you seeing?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Steve, right now, I'm in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in downtown Paris. And I've just been there at noon where all of France joined in a minute of silence for the 12 victims yesterday. And the bells of Notre Dame rung, and hundreds of people stood under umbrellas in the falling rain with solemn faces. And many were holding the sign which is now the phrase, Je Suis Charlie - I am Charlie - in solidarity with this magazine, Charlie Hebdo. And one woman told me, she said, we had to be out here, we will have the last word. And she also told me that she's seen support in New York and South America and different countries, and she said that is very important. It makes people here feel stronger.

Steve, at the same time, this is a city in contrast. Police - French media is reporting that the police have had witnesses say that the suspects are in a car somewhere on the highways around Paris. They have closed all of the exits off of the beltway that goes around Paris into the city. So you can't get in and out of the city right now. It is barricaded. The news is showing policemen with their guns trained on traffic at these exits. So it's like the city's barricaded, you have a moment of silence and the prime minister spoke about an hour ago and he said clearly, now our fear is of a new attack.

INSKEEP: This must add a lot of power to the protests that you're watching, knowing that somewhere out on the streets of Paris - authorities believe anyway - are the suspects still.

BEARDSLEY: Absolutely, this city is under the highest terrorist alert ever which is imminent attack. They have brought in 800 security, riot police and soldiers to guard transport and schools and monuments. The school - kids are being kept inside. I got a note from my son's school that said they will not be having recess outside today. So people do feel fearful, but there is a determination and sort of a solidarity. People are angry that their, like, fundamental values of Western society have been attacked, and they are standing firm.

INSKEEP: Eleanor, I want to ask, though, you say that the beltway around the city with a limited number of exits going underneath or over and out of the city, that everything has been closed off. And here we are 24 hours or so after the actual shootings that this is known to have been done. Is there specific information that is leading the authorities to do that at this time?

BEARDSLEY: Well, everything is still a bit hazy. The information - there's a hotline open, they're calling witnesses and witnesses apparently allegedly have seen these two men in their car somewhere on the outskirts. So the police are fearful they will try to get in the city or get out. And no, nothing is very clear right now. It's very confused, but Paris is almost a city under siege. It feels like that. There are police everywhere, and everyone is just holding their breath. Everyone seems to be holding their breath waiting for this to end, for these men to be caught, but nothing is clear right now.

INSKEEP: Eleanor, thanks very much.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley at the Cathedral of Notre Dame today, where a moment of silence was observed after yesterday's shooting at a satirical magazine that left a dozen people dead. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.