Where Is Saint-Denis? The Paris Suburb Has Become The Site Of A Major Police Raid
Update: After seven hours, the Saint-Denis police raid ended Wednesday with two suspected terrorists dead, including a woman who died after detonating her suicide vest, according to officials. A total of seven people were arrested, three of whom were inside the apartment during the raid. It was not immediately clear whether the target of the raid, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 350 others, was among those killed or arrested.
Earlier: Early Wednesday morning marked the beginning of a police raid in Paris suburb Saint-Denis, targeting alleged masterminds of the Paris terrorist attacks: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Salah Abdeslam, and a third possible suspect. As we continue to learn details of the ongoing siege, information is also coming out about the neighborhood where the manhunt is taking place. Where is Saint-Denis, exactly?
The suburb sits about six miles north of Paris' city center. The siege centers on an apartment building where police believe the group of suspected terrorists to be located. The building is also about a mile and a half from the Stade de France, one of the locations of Friday's attacks.
Just over 20 percent of the neighborhood's population in 2011 was listed as "foreigners", according to demographic data reported by UrbiStat. A significant percentage of immigrants in the community come from North Africa. Eighteen percent of the Saint-Denis population as of 2008 were Maghrebi. The commune is also known for its relatively high crime rate. In 2011, Saint-Denis' province, Seine-Saint-Denis, experienced higher levels of both assault and property crimes per 1000 people in comparison to averages for other administrative departments.
Police have ordered Saint-Denis residents to remain inside their homes, behind locked doors, and to stay away from any windows while the raid is ongoing. The town hall is also acting as a temporary shelter for some residents. Transportation into the suburb has been suspended and schools will remain closed on Wednesday.
While some roads were closed at the onset of the operation, about one hundred French troops arrived at the neighborhood to secure the perimeter of the raid several hours after the start of the raid and initial gunfire was reported in the area.