PARIS: Three men were arrested during a police assault in Paris targeting the suspected mastermind of Friday’s attacks, police said.
Two other people were killed, including a woman who blew herself up, as loud explosions and automatic weapons fire were heard in the centre of Saint-Denis just north of the capital.
At least three police were injured during the operation, launched after a devastating spate of attacks that left 129 dead and more than 350 injured.
Another source said a special armed response unit took part in the raid, which comes as Europe was on high alert after footage from the scene of one of Friday’s attacks revealed a ninth suspect may have taken part.
It was not clear if this ninth man was one of two suspected accomplices detained in Belgium or was on the run, potentially with 26-year-old fugitive Frenchman Salah Abdeslam who carried out one of the attacks at Bonne Biere cafe along with his suicide-bomber brother Brahim.
French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday will hold a meeting to discuss proposals to extend by three months the state of emergency declared after the worst attacks in French history. It will then be put to vote by lawmakers on Thursday and Friday.
In a sign of the nervousness gripping Europe after Friday’s carnage, a football match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled on Tuesday and the crowd evacuated after police acted on a “serious” bomb threat.
As police stepped up the hunt for the fugitives, French and Russian jets pounded IS targets in the group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqa for a third consecutive day.
‘Screw them, we have champagne’
France and Russia have vowed merciless retaliation for the Paris attacks and last month’s bombing of a Russian airliner, also claimed by the Islamic State group, which have galvanized international resolve to destroy the jihadists and end Syria’s more than four-year civil war.
“It’s necessary to establish direct contact with the French and work with them as allies,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said as France prepared to send an aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean.
Hollande will meet Putin in Moscow on November 26, two days after seeing US President Barack Obama in Washington.
Police have issued the photograph of one of the three men who blew themselves up outside the Stade de France, who investigators have established entered Europe through Greece, as hundreds of thousands of refugees have done this year.
He was found with a Syrian passport near his body, but investigators have not confirmed that he was the man in the document and are appealing for anyone who recognises him to come forward.
Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which lost 12 staff in an attack by jihadist gunmen in January, unveiled a tribute cover for the Paris victims showing a dancing reveller with bottle and glass in hand, and champagne pouring out of bullet holes in his body.
“They have weapons,” the caption reads, adding: “Screw them, we have champagne.”