French special forces are combing the fields and woodland around a small town northeast of Paris today in search of two suspects in Wednesday’s methodical attack on the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people.
Overall, more than 88,000 personnel are committed throughout the country, according to the French Ministry of Internal Affairs. Those include 50,000 Police employees, 32,000 from the Gendarmerie, 5,000 policemen and gendarmes of the Forces mobiles, and 1,150 military.
The two brothers were reportedly seen in a light grey car carrying heavy weapons, including grenade launchers. On Thursday morning they held up a gas station in the town of Villers-Cotteret, stealing food and ordering staff to refuel their car, according to The Telegraph.
“As Puma helicopters flew overhead, the heavily armed officers mounted road blocks and scoured the countryside in a an area ten by twelves miles square around the small town of Crépy en Valois, 60 miles north east of Paris,” The Telegraph reports.
Locals around the town of Crépy-en-Valois were advised to stay indoors as police went door to door and stopped cars for information. One witness described the nearby forest into which they’re thought to have entered “is very big and very wide.”
The Aviationist reports that “600 military personnel are deployed in the region around France’s capital as part of Vigipirate, France’s national security alert system. The alert level of such forces was raised on Jan. 7, in the aftermath of the attack and additional reinforcements are set to be deployed in the next hours.”
Here’s a graphic from the French Defence Ministry that shows the movement of assets to Paris.
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