tv BBC World News BBC America January 9, 2015 9:00am-10:01am EST
this is bbc america and now live from london, "bbc world news." >> reporter: i'm christian frazier in paris, where the hunt for two gunmen who killed 12 people here on wednesday is ramping up. this morning, they stole a car and exchanged fire with police during a major motorway. this is a scene in dammartin-en-goele, where the suspects are holed up in an office. there are reports that at least one hostage has been taken. there are reports that police have made contact with the brothers cherif and said kouachi, who say they're prepared to martyr themselves. they were on an american no-fly
list, and one of them traveled to yemen to train with islamist militants. in the last few minutes, president francois hollande has revealed that france has been the target of terrorist plots for several months. >> translator: anything can happen at any time. at the present time, we should do everything to guarantee protection of our citizens. >> reporter: very good morning, and welcome to paris. it has been a dramatic morning here in france. police searches were ongoing throughout the night about 40 or 50 miles north-northeast of paris, but this morning the two men they were searching, said and cherif kouachi broke cover, stealing a peugeot 206 car, a dramatic car chase in inclement weather. police vans racing down the
motorway in pursuit of this car. there was an exchange of gunfire. they were desperately trying to stop them arriving here in paris, heading towards the northeast corner. they holed up in dammartin-en-goele. it's a little village, a hill top village of some 8,000 people. there is an industrial estate in that village, and we understand that after more gunfire, the two men went into a printing press, a small printing press with only four employees. we understand although it's not confirmed by the interior ministry that one hostage has been taken, and there has been contact with the two men inside the printing press, and we understand that the two men have said they are not going to come out of this printing press. they want to die as martyrs. there is an enormous police operation under way across france. not just in dammartin-en-goele, but also here in paris where a third gunman is still in the wind. in dammartin, there are helicopters.
some are military helicopters. they have diverted and changed the landing and takeoff patterns of some of the aircraft going into charles de gaulle airport nearby and they are trying to ensure that these two brothers don't make an e skip. -- an escape. all the residents have been told to stay in these buildings and turn off the lights. the elite police are there trying to negotiate with these two men, but it does now appear that at some point, there is going to be another encounter with these two men who want to die. with a summary of today's events so far, here is richard lister. >> reporter: on a rain swept road on the outskirts of paris, the first indications that a major police operation was under way. one by one, the approach roads to the village of dammartin were blocked off. journalists were ordered to leave. as several police helicopters
hovered over the village, there were reports that at some stage, shots had been fired and hostages taken, but police would not verify that officially. the suspect, cherif kouachi, age 32 was a pizza delivery driver who had been detained in 2005 and jailed three years later for terrorism offenses. his brother said age 34 had been involved in a prison escape plot and attended a radical mosque. the first confirmed sighting of the two men was nearvillers-cotteret tomorrow. they were thought to move to nearby longpont. police set up a roadblock and began a search operation. for several hours, longpont was flooded with officers going house to house, aware the suspects they were hunting were ruthless and heavily armed. at some stage the two brothers were thought to have stolen another car and driven to dammartin. the french interior minister bernard cazeneuve emerged from a meeting with the president and
prime minister this morning to say that yesterday's police operation had revealed important information and that all police in the area had been mobilized for the operation in dammartin. president hollande said the threat was an international one, and there had been other terrorist attacks planned in france in recent months. >> translator: i will not go into details, but there were attempts to carry out operations, and we knew that anything could happen at any time. as we stand here at the present time we should do everything to guarantee the protection of our citizens. >> reporter: the two suspects are believed to be holed up in this building owned by a printing company. it's completely surrounded by police and some reports say they've made contact with those inside. residents have been told to stay in their homes with the lights off. hundreds of children and their teachers are taking refuge in a local high school. >> we are in the high school.
we want to know if they are okay or not. in the school they are down to 900 persons. we are really scared. >> reporter: two days after the murder of 12 people in the "charlie hebdo" attack, the hunt for the suspects appears to be nearing a resolution. richard lister bbc news. >> reporter: this morning, president hollande interrupted a crisis meeting he was sitting in on to get up-to-date news of what was happening on the n2 and from that moment he marched across the road from the elysee palace to sit in on what was coming in from the police on the ground and he's still there being kept abreast of the situation. around dammartin, it is a ring of steel at the moment, so journalists are being moved around. they're trying to set up a cordon as wide as they can around the village to stop people getting in, but a few minutes ago, colleague david eades spoke to chris morris who is on the ground there to give us the latest situation.
>> reporter: well ideally for the police they would have liked to have cornered the two suspects in an isolated rural location 20 miles north of here where they were searching yesterday, there is thick woodland. that would have been the idea place i think for them to have tracked them down. but what happened this morning was they break cover, stole a car and drove down here towards paris, and now they are in this small industrial estate. i guess you'd call it on the edge of dammartin. when we went past a little while ago before we were moved on by the police there were helicopters hovering in the sky. a huge security presence. but of course the reported presence of a hostage complicates matters. we're getting reports from the french media in the last few minutes that contact has been made with the two gunmen inside the building who have confirmed, according to these reports, that there is a hostage with them and they have expressed their wish to die through martyrdom. so a difficult situation for the police. they've also of course got the
problem of other buildings in the vicinity where people have taken shelter, people have been working. we understand from colleagues who have spoken to witnesses there that they've been told to stay inside those buildings. that there are in some cases armed police inside those buildings with them to offer extra security. so the good news for the police is they finally pinpointed the location of the two men they've been searching for so hard for the past 48 hours. the bad news is they have come back to a populated area where they have the ability to cause more harm. >> wanting to seal that area off as far as they can. chris, i don't know if you can clarify this but from the words you were hearing, the reports you were getting, we are talking about one solitary hostage, are we, with the gunman? >> reporter: the building the two gunmen are holed up in the premise is belonging to a local
printing and advertising company, as we understand it. we have been told that they do have a relatively small number of employees. just a handful of employees. and it appears, although there's always a caveat in these cases, because sometimes these reports prove to be wrong. but only one person was inside the building or one person was taken hostage when the gunmanen burst in. we don't know the identity of that person but that is as we understand it at the moment. if there had been no people inside the building, the operation for the police would have been considerably easier. they now have a whole other range of issues they have to deal with as well as securing the perimeter in case the gunmen try to make some kind of last-ditch break for it. >> and can you just explain and recap really for us on how we got to here? because of course a bit further north up the route national 2, which is a pretty big road that's where events took off as it were this morning. >> reporter: yeah that's right.
just over a couple of hours ago now, we were very close to the area. it's where we spent the night and where we spent most of yesterday at a police cordon. suddenly there were reports of heavy gunfire on the n2. and it appears that that was when the gunman break cover, they stole a car and started driving that car south towards paris. a car chase ensued. we saw countless security vehicles streaming down the road as we followed them south towards paris. and it ended here just north of here where we are now on the edge of this town of dammartin. that's when it appears the gunmen then abandoned that car. we believe there was more shooting and they entered this building. the premise is owned by this small printing company. were they trying to reach the city itself? that's possible. who knows? and the latest reports we have while the police -- there must be thousands of police in this location -- is that the contact has been made with the gunmen
and they've expressed their determination to die through martyr martyrdom. when we went past the location just to fill you in there were at least five helicopters hovering in the air, but colleagues have seen several helicopters now on the ground. possibly grounded because of inclement weather. it's been raining here all morning. it's very windy. not ideal conditions for those helicopters to operate at low level hovering over the site to try and give more information to the forces gathered around that area. >> chris i know a number of journalists and you among them were following this police convoy. i just wonder to what extent the police have also got to deal with another operation, that is the management of the media, the local public. of course, we can see behind you the traffic. >> reporter: they do. i mean, clearly one of their initial concerns would have been to secure the buildings around
the building and i guess we can now call it a siege is taking place. we could see on an online map that there are schools relatively close to this building, so a huge concern clearly to get people to safety. the media presence yes. when we first got here we were pretty much the only people here. i can tell you now, we are surrounded by media. but perhaps there's a level of appropriateness in the fact that this manhunt over the last 48 hours has played out in front of the eyes of the world media after an attack on a magazine that was dedicated to that principle, the very french principle of liberty and freedom of the press and the ability to be able to speak freely. so the police know that in this era of 24/7 media, it is one of the things they have to take into account. safety is their primary responsibility. but they know that the media will be following them every step of the way as well. europe correspondent chris
morris, who was following that dramatic car chase and was one of the first on the scene in dammartin. in the last few minutes, we heard from the local council there who are telling people to stay at home lock themselves indoors. they say that children are confined and safe in their schools at the moment and they will be asked to stay in those schools as this situations progresses. we have a huge team monitoring social media and the situation on the ground. in the last few minutes, we've been told that europe 1 radio has an interview with a man who encountered the hijackers in dammartin and he was told by the brothers that they should tell the media they are al qaeda in yemen. so that would seem to back up the suggestions we'd had that at least one of the brothers cherif kouachi we think had been to yemen and had had training. let's listen to francois hollande, because he's been deeply involved in the events this morning. he's across from the elysee palace to the interior ministry. he's being kept abreast of the situation minute by minute.
in the past hour, he came out to talk to the french public to keep them abreast of the situation. >> translator: decided to be part of coalition in iraq to fight terrorism. that's because outside france there are forces that want to annihilate the territories, which they want to bring under their control. and also to compromise our security. i've always said we did so this friendly country can find its territorial integrity and also to protect ourselves. but there are internal threats and domestic threats. country had been a victim over the past decade victim of a nation that had a terrorist
characteristic. we knew over the past few months that there were attempt ss attempted and we have foiled them. i will not go into details, but there were attempts to carry out operations. and we knew that anything could happen at any time. as we stand here at the present time we should do everything to guarantee the protection of our citizens. the interior minister reminded us us, and interior minister needs to know that he has your confidence. you are the state. and in your departments, you
should show that the state is here. it is at its place. the place of the state is to use all the mean where is there are risks. locations that could be a target, and also to reassure the population, which is the cracks of the security operation that is at its highest level, and to tell them that they live within a state of law. and we refuse caricatures, hurtful ones. and to make sure that all our citizens act within the same republic.
so we wanted a stronger intervention should be to avoid and prevent a repetition of what had happened. because a repeat incident can happen. we know what's happening in the month of december, and we knew that the possibility could use arms to perpetrate other operations. prevention information, make sure that all our security systems and intelligence systems and force are aware of this responsibility. and finally, we should guarantee the security of the demonstrations that will happen. some have happened spontaneously. respectful. all citizens are invited to take part in this manifestation and demonstrations. there is no control.
it is the same conviction and determination that should be leading our citizens who will be taking part in the march of sunday. >> reporter: francois hollande trying to reassure the people of france in a press conference in the past hour. just to recap for those viewers who are joining us we've had a dramatic car chase down the n2 this morning. the two brothers that were being sought in connection with the death of 12 people here in paris on wednesday, the murder of those 12 people are now holed up in a printing press in dammartin. i've just seen a news flash reporting that a man claiming to be one of the hostage takers has made contact with the tv channel bfm. that is the live continuous channel here in france. their source afp source is someone within the security forces. bfm have not run anything yet of that conversation if indeed it took place and they would not
comment to afp on that claim. let's go to dammartin. it is a very fluid situation, a dangerous and precarious situation for people who live there. we can speak to a resident, he's in a building 400 meters from the printing press where these two hostage takers are now surround surrounded. thank you very much for joining us. tell us what you can see. >> you're welcome. now we can see only policemen on the road. there were some helicopters, but now they are on the ground. i asked a policeman, and he told me that they are negotiating with the killers. >> reporter: there was some confusion -- sorry, there's a bit of delay on the line. there was some confusion this
morning about what happened when these two brothers arrived in dammartin. can you tell us what happened what played out? >> i've seen that there was shotgun in the street. and now they are with the hostage. and we don't know really what's happening now. the only thing i can say, that they are negotiating. in the morning, there were four helicopters. the policemen, they told us to stay inside in the house and to not go outside. so that's everything we have right now. >> you talked about shots being fired this morning. how many shots were fired and were there any injuries in dammartin? >> i don't know how many shots.
i don't really know. apparently there were shots near shops. but that's everything i know. >> just give us your local knowledge of the local area in dammartin, around that printing press. what kind of buildings are there? >> you have -- there are another building for factories. a lot of buildings for factories. >> and how close is it to a residential area? we were hearing that there are children that have been locked in schools and confined to
schools. is it near a primary school? >> yes. it's near a high school. near a high school. they are confined inside. and all the schools in the cities near dammartin are confined. >> just tell us a little bit about your situation. how many of you are in your house and how are you keeping abreast of the news? >> in my house, we are four. there is my sister my mother and one neighbor. scared worried. we want it to finish. because we don't know what can happen with these guys. everything is scared. all the families are worried.
so that's a very difficult situation. >> people won't be aware of where dammartin is in relation to paris, but how long does it take you to drive to paris? although we're speculating, would you imagine that these two men were trying to get back into the city? >> dammartin is -- with a car, half an hour. because there is a lot of traffic. but it's not really far. and we have known that they were near dammartin yesterday. but we can't imagine that they are here now. >> do keep safe where you are at the moment. we thank you for joining us here on bbc news. i just want to talk, before i bring him in, about the situation here in paris.
i've been driving around this morning, and although events are focused in dammartin, there is a fluid situation in the capital, because we had a shooting yesterday in montrouge. there is speculation that perhaps that man is known to these two brothers. he is still in the wind. so we must presume that there is a separate investigation still ongoing. very tense situation to try and find that gunman. let's bring in claude from france 24. thank you for joining us. although we're focusing on dammartin, i get the sense that the police are poised and ready to react should something happen here in the capital. >> absolutely. and there's a heavy police presence, as you've seen yourself in paris, with a huge number of forces deployed. this is the highest terror alert
in france. you've got forces all over the place. government museums, tourist landmarks. and of course they fear that there could be more attacks. and that's why also the french president francois hollande said earlier that he praised the spirits of the rallies. also said that sunday's mass rally needs to run smoothly and that forces will be there to protect citizens. you were mentioning that shootout yesterday in montrouge, the south of paris. for the time being, there is no proven link between the two cases. it's true that anti-terrorist prosecutors have been invest getting the case and carefully monitoring the situation. here in paris, people are watching the latest developments in dammartin. people have been concerned obviously by this attack on "charlie hebdo" and they want all this to finish as quickly as
possible. the people i was talking to this morning were rather skeptical. they were hoping that it would come to an end quickly with no bloodshed. the problem being now that according to the number of parliament in the area where the two suspects are now, according to him, contact has been established with the suspect and the suspects have said that they want to die as martyrs. >> just looking at the situation, good news in the sense that they've identified where these men are, but bad news in the sense that they're now again in a residential area. >> absolutely and presumably they've got hostages, if they are trying to die as martyrs, then we could envisage more blood shet coming in the hours and minutes. that's why it's important for
the special forces operating in the area to establish contact as they've been doing so. it appears that they've been able to negotiate more or less with the two the two suspects. francois hollande is monitoring the situation. he's the man in charge. that's what he wants to show. he came back by foot. it is a short distance between the interior ministry and the elysee palace. but still, it's quite a bold move and he wanted the show that he is not afraid. it is one of the slogans that have appeared since the "charlie hebdo" attack. "we are not afraid." just as much as je suis charlie, i am charlie, another slow begun across france in these gatherings that have been taking
place on a daily basis since the attack on wednesday. i was at the attack only a few hours after it took place and i can tell you there was a huge amount of concern. parisians spon takennkentaneously turned up at the scene to see what had happened, to express their solidarity. that was the first stage before the evening rally with these images. they went around the world, where you saw despite the freezing temperatures, thousands of people holding candles, holding pictures of the cartoonists who were killed. and with people chanting slogans, saying freedom of expression is a right and needs to be defended in france. >> in that spirit i want to talk about this republican march
that we're seeing -- that we're going to have on sunday. while we're doing that, i think we're going to float some pictures of dammartin, because it's a quickly moving situation there. but while we're lacking at those pictures, let's talk about the republican march on sunday. thousands expected to come on to the streets here in paris. but the president alluded to what will be an enormous security headache. >> it will be a security headache and it's also a political headache forren from francois hollande, the french far right has set itself aside. she was received just like all the leaders of the french political party. she was received by francois hollande, who talked to her, who briefed her on the situation. but there's been a bit of turmoil with the french authorities not formally
inviting her to sunday's mass rally, and she's spoken out, said that because she wasn't formally invited like the other leaders of france's political parties, she wasn't going to turn up. and she also said that it's the example that the socialists want national unity in the country. so that has sparked a lot of criticism because many french people think it's not the time and place to be having these types of discussions at a time when france is having to cope with first the most deadly attack in decades on french soil, and also with this manhunt that has mobilized a huge number of forces which is clearly the largest counterterrorism operation in modern history. >> yeah. well quite. it's very interesting to hear your thoughts. thank you very much for joining us this morning. i'm hearing that the remaining
staff of "charlie hebdo" took up their temporary headquarters in the liberation newspaper building this morning, so they can bring out next week's edition. there are about 30 of them who will be working out of liberation. interesting choice of building because last year i was at liberation and they had a gun attack in their reception, killing a young photographer there. so the staff will certainly know what the staff of "charlie hebdo" are going through and they are beginning to in defiance put out the edition next week the one that perhaps stephane charbonnier had been discussing when he was killed alongside his colleagues. in dammartin, about 30 or 40 kilometers north-northeast of paris, it is a fast-moving situation this morning but at least the police now have these two men cornered in that printing press. they do have a hostage, we're told. and they have communicated with witnesses in the area and with the media to say that they want
to die as martyrs. let's hear from heath cliff omali, a photographer with the uk's daily tell grandfather. >> we can see lots of police around. i saw some armored vehicles being moved possibly in the direction of the industrial estate as well. camouflage vehicles one with a heavy gun on it. sirens everywhere. a huge media presence. and like your correspondent said, we've heard reports that police have made contact and that these gunmen wish to die as martyrs. >> with your cameras, are you able to home in at all on the scene itself on the premises? >> no we can't. where we are, we're also surrounded by more woodland and we just can't get a clear view at the moment. we've been trying all different views and the police are doing a very good job of keeping us out of the way. just trying to move around and
see where we can find a better vantage point at the moment. >> i guess that's their job, so we can understand that much. were you also further north? have you been involved in what's amounted to this chase across-country? >> yes. i stayed overnight in longpont and this morning as soon as we heard reports, we headed down the road and were following some of the police vehicles to the scene. we stopped and could see all the helicopters hovering above, and obviously kept moving us on and we just kept stopping and moving, just trying to get pictures wherever we could, really. >> we are hearing that children in one nearby school to that printing press are being evacuated, so they are managing to move out children safely. and obviously they'll try and move out any residents safely that are in the nearest vicinity
of the printing press. these men are heavily armed. they were carrying inging rifles and reports of a rocket launcher. the man under the greatest pressure aside from the prime minister is the interior minister bernard cazeneuve. he's been speaking to all the seven defense areas and regions around paris, putting them on high alert. he's cancelled all leave of policemen and army personnel. 88,000 deployed around france at the moment. a large number of them focused in the dammartin area. some of the seven helicopters are puma helicopters belonging to the ministry of defense. a few minutes ago, he came out on to the steps of the elysee paris and gave us an upsum of the situation that he knows is developing. >> extremely complex security plan has been deployed across
the perimeter from which we received indications relating to the presence of the terrorists. we are currently looking to stop. these letters have mobilized important resources from the national and military police. this plan allowed us through the day yesterday to gather important and interesting elements of information for the investigation. at current an operation is under way at dammartin-en-goele which has probablyized the services. their mobilization to the site in light of yesterday's operations allow a certain re reactivity. special forces are on site, are arriving on site, and the operations will be led in the. cog hours within the framework of a complete action plan directed by the general of the military police as well as the drekirector of the national police services under my own coordination. >> just to reiterate, there are
lots of police here in the center of paris. to lock down areas of the city should they need to. there is a third gunman that is until the wind at the moment. they did arrest two suspects yesterday in link with the shooting in montrouge, but the gunman who killed a young policewoman, a police trainee, is still at large. and there is growing speculation that he is linked the those two brers that are holed up in the printing press inothers that are holed up in the printing press in dammartin. so that is a dangerous situation. let's go back to dammartin and speak to our europe correspondent chris morris one of the first on the scene this morning. chris, what can you tell us? actually, i don't think we can join chris at the moment. let's join my other colleague, hugh schofield, who is keeping abreast of what is a very fast-moving situation. what are you seeing in social
media and on the french reports? >> well we've got our eyes glued on to the 24/7 coverage of what's happening in dammartin, but it has been static for the last hour or so. i dare say people have been moved from their homes and so on, but there's a lot of speculation on the news media about what the tactics of the police are beginning to be and what the tactics of the two desperate men inside are going to be. obviously the first conclusion or the most common speculation is that the pair, the kouachi brothers are in the kind of mindset that will incline them to going out in a blaze of glory, and that must be the presumption of the special force, that that is their aim. that they will not be taking any risks at all. a lot of security experts are saying the tactic now if they were in the shoes of commanders would be to just slow things down bring the tempo down, make
it quite clear to the people inside that the security forces are prepared to sit this one out, to get them off their guard, to get their sort of levels of adrenaline down, to get them talking. they will try to do that. we don't know if they've started talking. there will are various reports that they might have. so the big picture is that we could be here for many hours. i mean they certainly will not be any hurry to bring this siege to a quick end. >> and just while we've been talking, hugh i made mention of the shooting in montrouge yesterday in the southern suburbs of paris. afp now quoting a police source that indeed there may be a link between him and the two brothers that are holed up in dammartin. >> this will obviously be the next focus once the siege is over and it's already of interest to a large part of the
police that we're not following so closely. it remains to be seen what this link is. is the link that they planned this together? is the link merely that they knew each other and the brothers said look we're going to do something, you do something too? the man we know must have been heavily armed, he was heavily armed, looks like he was primed. looked like he was ready to act. wanted to act. deliberately went out and took on this poor policewoman and killed her in a browutal fashion, in a way which would have dominated the news in its own right had it not been eclipsed by what happened at "charlie hebdo." we just don't know. we can assume the police now know the identity of this figure and that wasn't true a few hours ago. at least we didn't know they knew that then. it does of course confirm the speculation about a link but it remains to be seen the nature of that link. i certainly suspected that even
in the loosest form there was a link in the sense that this could have been a copycat effect kind of attack. kind of contagion in which the first big attack creates the conditions in which other people who may be restraining themselves, but have an inclination to act, are then pushed into the deed. we'll have to see if that is the case or whether there was a closer coordination and the brothers knew and asked and planned for this secondary attack to take place. >> i know you'll keep us up to date with anything else we hear. i just want to make mention very quickly of the concerns of francois hollande and bernard cazeneuve of the interior ministry that this might drive a wedge within french society. we've had reports from long-- this a mosque has been partially burned. yesterday explosions in a kebab
shop. there will be concerns that as this plays out, and obviously as the media focuses on the brothers and the shooting in montrouge, that it will drive a wedge, and the muslim people here in france and it is the biggest muslim population in western europe will feel the pressure. so we'll keep our eyes on that as well. let's go back to dammartin, because i think we have reestablished links with chris morris, our europe correspondent, who was one of the first in the village this morning. what's the situation there right now, chris? >> reporter: we've moved a bit further from the village. we're now back in here. we can just about see the roof of the building where the gunmen are holed out at the moment. it seems pretty calm at the moment. there is security everywhere. we understand that there has been contact with the gunmen inside the building. i suppose we can say that a
siege situation has developed. police were searching yesterday about 20 miles northeast of here in thick woodland. that's the kind of place they would have liked to have tracked down these two suspects. unfortunately, when they break cover this morning and hijacked that vehicle, they managed to get themselves to a police where there are plenty of people and it appears they have one hostage inside the building. we understand local schools have been evacuated. pupils have been moved out from the schools now that the police have established what they think is a secure perimeter around the building at the focus of attention. and pupils are being moved from those schools to places of safety where they can be reunited with their parents. >> you were saying earlier, chris, we heard your report earlier that in some ways this is good news for police that they've managed to isolate them.
do you think it was the intention of the brothers to try and get back into the city? >> reporter: it is speculation, but that's certainly the direction they were heading. the police were clearly right yesterday. the cordon they had thrown up around places like longpont, after the brothers were sighted in the service station in the morning where they stole food and fuel, they hadn't moved very far. the car they hijacked or stole this morning was pretty close to that service station. we were just a couple of miles away when that happened. and they drove down the road towards paris. if they hadn't been stopped would they have kept going into the city? we may never know but it's certainly a possibility. if their intention is to create as big a statement in their eyes as they can, that would be the symbolic place towards which to head. but they have been stopped here in dammartin.
it's a small town. but the police obviously facing the very difficult situation as it always is in these circumstances, of a hostage of people whose lives are in danger. people who are armed and dangerous and according to french media reports, have expressed the wish to negotiate to attain martyrdom. >> chris stay with us because i want to read you some copy i've just been sent. this is from a man who's been interviewed on french radio. clearly, he had some business in dammartin this morning and he went toward the printing press. it's fascinating what he said. he said, i arrived, my client came out with someone armed. my client asked me to leave. the person who appeared to be a policeman said listen leave. we don't kill civilians. i didn't formally recognize him. they were dressed like special police forces and they were heavily armed. i was at the entrance of the business and i shook the hand of michelle, and the hand of the
terrorist. i didn't hear gunshots. the only thing i heard was, we don't kill civilians. this was the only thing he said. some extraordinary reports of those in the near vicinity of that printing press. >> yeah and a man who must like everyone else in france, been watched with horror the pictures from outside "charlie hebdo" on wednesday when a policeman was shot dead at point-blank range. we know, of course that civilians were killed in that attack. so a man who may well have had a very lucky escape there. another civilian less fortunate. it seems pretty clear there is a hostage inside at the building. i'm just peering around the corner here. i can see the roof of the building. again, still at the moment christian, just blanketed with security but not that much obvious sign of activity. this could be something that lasts for several hours. the police are here in force.
there are no helicopters in the sky anymore. there were at least half a dozen earlier when this was first breaking as we first arrived. but i guess the negotiators are settling down into a pattern in which they are going to try to negotiate the safety of whoever is inside that building with the two gunmen. >> yeah exactly. our sympathies to that man who is being held hostage at the moment. he must be fearing the worst. chris morris in dammartin. let's speak to professor anthony glease, he's in our oxford studio. thank you very much for joining us. what would be the motivation of the two brothers holed up in this building? >> well it could be that they want to get out of france. they're not far from charles de gaulle airport. it could be a factor. it could be that they want to barter their way out in some
other way. what's important to realize is these two men are not suicide bombers. they're not suicidal. the operation that they carried out 48 hours ago was the operation that you would expect from trained terrorists people who thought they could get in there and then get out again as they've been doing for the past 48 hours. my guess would be that what the french authorities would want to do, would be to avoid a shootout, to carry on talking for as long as it takes. they are far greater use alive than if they are dead not to mention the fate of the hostage. >> do you think they would
really want to be taken alive? >> well, they might not want to but they might not be in a position if the french authorities have the right equipment. they might not be in a position to prevent themselves from being taken alive. i mean everything that they're doing is consistent with their not wanting to be killed. they didn't want to be killed 48 hours ago and they don't want to be killed now. if they had wanted to be martyrs, they could have done that at any point in the past 48 hours. they haven't done so and that is a hopeful sign. >> what do you make of what the hostage taker, one of these hostage takers said to a man that did escape, tell the media he said that we are al qaeda of yemen? >> well i think that's very plausible. it's significant that they said
they didn't kill civilians. that applies they've had military training. that they distinguish between their view of who's a civilian. of course, the journalists, "charlie hebdo" would by most accounts be seen as civilians. they didn't see it like that. they see people who are civilians as different from people who are in the armed forces. and all the kinds of things that they say in this context are very significant. if they were trained there, well, that will be very significant for france but also significant for us in the united kingdom. if they had been people who had been trained in syria and iraq the implications for us here in the uk would have been rather more dramatic. in france the links between arab north africa and the arabian peninsula are much stronger than they are with people in the united kingdom. they're very much stronger in france.
>> it's interesting the point you make, actually, because already there is sort of coverage in the french press about what the intelligence services knew about these two men. one of them was in a no-fly list. we saw in 2011 with mohamed mara that he was known to intelligence services and then just dropped off the radar. it's not always possible for the intelligence services to keep abreast of everyone. >> well, it's not possible for them to keep abreast of everyone. on the other hand, i do think that the attack on the offices of "charlie hebdo" were a serious intelligence failure. this wasn't any old place. this was a blindingly obvious sitting duck target, that it was guarded by only two policemen. really beggars belief i'm afraid to say, because it was so obviously a target.
i think that the french attitude towards terrorism is different from the british attitude. the french attitude towards their police and armed forces is different from the british attitude. the french attitude towards the revelations of edward snowden are different from those of most british people. and i've done interviews with french journalists who have said, we french we don't like the police. we don't want them snooping around in our e-mails and what have you. well, the fact is that it is only through the interception of electronically delivered messages or through human sources of intelligence that these sorts of attacks could be prevented from taking place before they take place. once they're in motion once this was in motion 48 hours ago, this could only have been stopped by massive police presence which there should have been outside the offices of "charlie hebdo," but to get them earlier to disrupt them earlier,
that's the keesm and i believe we in the united kingdom are still very good at this. though the comments that the director general of mi-5 andrew parker made last night where he said actually that terrorists are gaining on us in terms of our existing capabilities, they are very chilling. >> yeah very interesting. one source was telling me here just the other day that since the arab spring they lost a lot of their intelligence here in france. they had governments from the arab world who were helping them here inside france because of course, a lot of people go back and forth to north africa and to the middle east and live here in paris. but that sort of intelligence they lost. and they've been in catch-up mode. thank you very much for joining us. really interesting comments from you this morning. let's go back to dammartin. we're still watching this situation at the printing press, where these two brothers are still holed up. we've heard in the last few minutes that perhaps the hostage taker is a woman.
we can hear from a resident that lives about 500 meters from that building. >> translator: we are shut inside and we can't go out. there's a helicopter flying over the town. many police cars and balances going past at top speed. i think the town is sealed off. we can't go out, so we can't see anything else. i haven't heard any gunshots but i know there have been some. we're 500 meters away. for the home we haven't heard anything else. all we know is what's on the news. in the town center the streets are deserted. everyone's at home. there are some people visible. we are afraid. we have locked everything. we were really at the front of the agency just in case the gunmen appear if they get out of where they are now. we are not calm. we are afraid of what might happen if they come to where we are. and we know that they would not
hesitate to fire on us and that's what makes us most afraid. ror let's>> reporter: let's recap. you may remember that last night, police were near a forest with sniffer dogs trying to search these two brothers. at that point early this morning, we heard that they had made a break for it in a peugeot 206. they were heading back for paris. they traveled about 40 or 50 kilometers. there were gunshots fired, and then they arrived at dammartin. it's a small village around 8,000 people there. there's an industrial sector. we can show you the live pictures as we see them now. there is a ring of steel around that village. we've had helicopters, seven helicopters, in fact were over the village early this morning. we understand the two men then
descended on a printing press, and inside that printing press, they have a hostage, perhaps we understand a woman. we've had some extraordinary reports from a salesperson or someone that approached the printing press who shook hands with the gunman and the hostage and was told that he was to go away. we don't kill civilians, he said. and we also understand that those two hostage takers spoke to the french media and said tell them we are al qaeda in yemen, and we want to die as martyrs. it is a fast-moving situation in dammartin. the council and the police have told everyone to stay indoors. they have locked down everybody. people are staying in their building and turning off the lights as they try to negotiate with these two brothers. you're watching a bbc news special.
christian frazier there with the latest from paris. this is the scene as we've been focusing on in the last couple of hours in dammartin. a grim and grisly day really across the center of france in any case. but the focus on the small town of some 8,000 residents, which police have now sealed off after chasing down the main highway, the route national number 2, as we understand the kouachi brothers cherif and said have made their way down the road and holed up in the industrial complex at the prining works there that we can see in our picture. we understand that they have said to police negotiators that
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hello, and welcome to a bbc news special with stephen sackur and lucy hockings. >> a dramatic siege is under way in the french town of dammartin just north of paris, where hundreds of armed police have cornered two brothers suspected of carrying out wednesday's deadly attack on a satirical magazine in paris. >> said and cherif kouachi are believed to be holding out in one building on this industrial estate. it's a print works. these live pictures from dammartin. reports suggest there's been contact with police and the