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Explosions and gunfire at Paris grocery store where hostages held

Hostage taker, with alleged ties to Charlie Hebdo attackers, killed in standoff with police

A gunman who took several people hostage at a kosher grocery in eastern Paris on Friday was killed after police forces launched an assault on the store, French media report.

A police official said the gunman at the grocery had threatened to kill his hostages if police launched an assault in Dammartin-en-Goele, around 25 miles northeast of Paris, where the brothers responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks were also under assault by police and are believed to have been killed. 

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the dual hostage situations, described the events as "clearly linked." 

The exact number of hostages was unclear, but local media report five at the grocery were in the custody of the gunman, who was reportedly accompanied by a woman. The police source said the man was equipped with automatic weapons. The ordeal unfolded in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood, with helicopters hovering and schools on lockdown.

Meanwhile, north of Paris, in Dammartin-en-Goele, two men suspected in the deaths of 12 people Wednesday at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were reported killed by police forces. The pair had held one person hostage, who reportedly survived the ordeal. Police had surrounded that location, and photographs from the scene show police snipers with weapons ready. 

French authorities suspect the grocery store hostage taker is the same gunman who killed a policewoman in a shooting in Montrouge in southern Paris on Thursday. Police also believe he has links to the attackers at the magazine, whom officials have identified as brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi.

In the grocery store hostage scene, police have released the names of two suspects, Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene.

With wire services

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