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Charlie Hebdo hunt: Police storm two hostage sites

French police have stormed two hostage sites in the Paris area, killing three hostage takers.

Two brothers suspected of the Charlie Hebdo magazine shootings were killed in an assault at a warehouse where they had held a hostage north of Paris.

In the second incident, anti-terror forces stormed a supermarket in eastern Paris where several hostages were being held by another gunman.

Four hostages at the supermarket were killed.

It is not clear whether they were killed before or after the police assault began.

Another four hostages were seriously injured, but 15 were released.

The hostage taker at the kosher supermarket is believed to have had links to the two Charlie Hebdo suspects.

Two police officers were injured in the rescue operation, AP reported.

In the first incident, a hostage at the warehouse in Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) north of Paris was also freed, while a police officer at the scene was injured, AFP news agency said.

French President Francois Hollande has described the events as "a tragedy for the nation".

In a national address, he thanked the security forces for their "courage, bravery [and] efficiency", but added that France still faced threats. "We have to be vigilant. I also ask you to be united - it's our best weapon," he said.

"We must be implacable towards racism," he added, saying that the supermarket attack was an "appalling anti-Semitic act".

"Those who committed these acts, these fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim faith."

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Analysis: Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

The actions of France's highly trained GIGN counter-terrorist police brought a swift end to a double hostage crisis that began 53 hours earlier with the armed raid on the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo.

But a number of important questions remain. Was this attack planned and orchestrated from abroad and if so by who? Is there any credence to claims made by the gunmen before they died that they were linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen and to Islamic State, two sometimes competing organisations? And what was the real target here, Charlie Hebdo or the entire French nation?

Questions are already being asked of French police and intelligence about how the two Kouachi brothers, well-known for their extremist views and already on US and European no-fly watchlists, were left free to acquire assault rifles and carry out the murderous raid on 7 January. Beyond this, France has a deeper problem, coping with a growing number of violent jihadists who will see this week as only the beginning.

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The police assaults came after three tense days in France.

Twelve people were shot dead and 11 were injured in Wednesday's attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine.

The unprecedented attack shocked France and there has been an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity worldwide.

The two suspects of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, then went on the run for two days, before being surrounded at Dammartin as night fell on Friday.

French police said they came out firing.

The hostage taker in eastern Paris targeted a Jewish supermarket, Hypercacher, near Porte de Vincennes. He has been named as Amedy Coulibaly, 32. It is not clear whether he had an accomplice.

He knew at least one of the suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers, a source told AFP news agency.

He had threatened to kill his captives if police attempted to capture the brothers, reports citing police said.

Earlier on Friday, a man claiming to be Amedy Coulibaly told French TV station BFMTV that he was a member of the Islamic State militant group, and that he had "co-ordinated" his attack with the Kouachi brothers.

Coulibaly was also suspected of being behind the shooting of a policewoman in the southern suburb of Montrouge on Thursday.

On Friday, French police issued an appeal for witnesses to that shooting. They said they were looking for Amedy Coulibaly, as well as a woman called Hayat Boumeddiene, 26.

Ms Boumeddiene's whereabouts are not clear.

How the day unfolded (all times GMT)

07:00 - The Kouachi brothers hijack a car in Montagny-Sainte-Felicite, north of Paris. They are said to be carrying weapons including a rocket launcher.

08:30 - Pursued by police along the N2 road towards Paris, they take refuge in a printing works in Dammartin-en-Goele. They take a man hostage as police surround the building.

12:15 - As the siege continues, a man identified as Amedy Coulibaly takes several people hostage at a supermarket near Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris. Coulibaly is also suspected of having shot dead a police officer on Thursday.

16:00 - Police storm the siege scene in Dammartin. Both suspects are killed and the hostage freed.

16:15 -Security forces move into the shop in Paris and kill Coulibaly. It emerges that four hostages at the supermarket have also been killed, but 15 others are freed.

18:55 - Addressing the nation, President Hollande calls for France to "remain vigilant" and praises the "courage, bravery and efficiency" of the police forces.