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French Police Swarm Town Looking For Shooting Suspects


More now on that standoff in a village outside of Paris. The two men suspected of attacking a satirical newspaper and killing 12 people have been apparently cornered by police. They are presumably in a building not far from the Charles de Gaulle Airport, France's major airport. Lauren Frayer is in Paris and she has more details for us now. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: What is...

FRAYER: Right now - Right now, French president Hollande is speaking on live TV surrounded by his cabinet. And he's speaking to the French nation. He says he couldn't give much detail, but he says many terror attacks like this one have been thwarted already. He says threats that the French people are feeling are sadly not new and that authorities are doing absolutely everything they can to guarantee the protection of French citizens.Now, all of this going on in the backdrop of this ongoing manhunt. There's an intense police operation underway in a rural area about 25 miles northeast of Paris. There are helicopters overhead SWAT teams, what look like hundreds of police and French military. And that's where the suspects are believed to be holed up. The French interior ministry says the government is almost certainly they've cornered them there. This all began around 830 this morning. French people woke up to reports of a stolen car in that area.And the owner of the car, a local woman, said she saw the suspects steal her car, recognized them from TV footage. They were unmasked. She saw them do it. She also saw guns and possibly a rocket launcher with them. And now the suspects are believed to be holed up in this construction company office in this little village. Police are setting up a perimeter. They say they will go in at some point. And French media are just reporting now that the police have made contact with the suspects. It's unclear whether any negotiations with them are underway.

MONTAGNE: When you say made contact - any way of knowing what that means? And also of course, as you pointed out, they appear to be armed. And certainly, if they are, they are dangerous.

FRAYER: That's right. I mean, French police have told citizens in the area to stay indoors, that the men are armed and dangerous, as we saw this terror attack in Paris on Wednesday. They're not believed to be likely to surrender. We have no confirmation that any negotiations are underway or the nature of the contact that they've made with them.

MONTAGNE: Now, the Charles de Gaulle Airport, tell us more about that. Is it easy - is it obvious to possibly see who might be there? Exactly what's happening?

FRAYER: Right, so this is within view of Charles de Gaulle Airport. And I can tell you, I flew into that airport yesterday morning. It's a beautiful bucolic green countryside well outside the city. It looks peaceful. You cannot imagine something like the SWAT teams and military operation taking place there. And the airport has closed two of its runways. The idea presumably is that with so much police and military presence, the suspects armed and dangerous, authorities just don't want any extra bystanders in the area. Imagine, huge passenger jets with civilians landing in the area, so they've closed those runways altogether.

MONTAGNE: So we will of course be following this story throughout the morning. We are following this story. Lauren Frayer is in Paris. She's covering the manhunt there for the suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They are believed to be holed up in the Charles de Gaulle Airport at this moment. And of course, Lauren, we'll be talking to you later. Thanks very much.

FRAYER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.