A woman suicide bomber blew herself and another two terroristsÂ died on Wednesday when French police launched a massive raid in the Paris suburb of St. Denis seeking suspectsÂ who could be somehow linked to the terrible attacks that took place last week, claiming lives of dozens of people.
A localÂ in St. Denis shared with policeÂ that he had rented out the besieged apartment to two people last week.
“Someone asked me a favor, I did them a favor. 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,” he said.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed to a local news agency thatÂ police had been tracking downÂ Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian Islamist militant accused of masterminding the Nov. 13 carnage, but more than seven hours after the launch of the missionÂ it was still unclear whetherÂ they had found him.
Seven people were arrested in the operation, which started with gun shots between police and suspects, officials reported.
“It is impossible to tell you who was arrested. We are in the process of verifying that. Everything will be done to determine who is who,” Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said at the end of the operation.
Two police sources say investigators believe the St. Denis group had been planning anotherÂ attackÂ on Paris.
“We had received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned,” Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe said. “We took them seriously and that is why we took the measures.”
“We do not know if these people, who had planned something for the stadium, had planned something else so we try to have a presence throughout the city,” heÂ added.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the threat was credible and cancelling the game was the right thing to do, but did not provide any details.
“I understand the question but I will not answer it,” he told a hastily convened news conference when asked what had forced the decision. He said divulging details could undermine security at other events.
“I am asking for an advance of trust from the German people. We will have such cases in the future, maybe not Hanover but somewhere else,” he said.
Local residents spoke of their fear and panic as the shooting started in St. Denis just before 4.30 a.m.
“We could see bullets flying and laser beams out of the window. There were explosions. You could feel the whole building shake,” said Sabrine who lives right in front of the apartments that were raided.
Another local, Sanoko Abdulai, said that as the operation gathered pace, a young woman detonated an explosion.
“She had a bomb, that’s for sure. The police didn’t kill her, she blew herself up…,” he said to reporters without unleashing further details.
Meanwhile, it becomes obvious that fears over possible bombings spread all over the world.
A soccer game between Germany and Netherlands whichÂ Angel Merkel wanted to attendÂ in Hanover was called off two hours before its scheduled start on Tuesday over reports aboutÂ a planned bombing.
“We had received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned,” Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe told NDR state broadcaster. “We took them seriously and that is why we took the measures.”
“We do not know if these people, who had planned something for the stadium, had planned something else so we try to have a presence throughout the city,” he said