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France mourns Charlie Hebdo victims as police expand search

The bells of Notre Dame tolled as France marked a national day of mourning for the victims of a deadly attack on a Parisian publication. Meanwhile, the police extended their manhunt for two Islamist attackers, carried out house-to-house searches and detained nine people. The suspects are brothers in their 30s who were already known to French intelligence services. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

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    The people of France spent the day on edge, mourning the victims of a mass shooting in Paris and tracking the manhunt for two attackers. U.S. officials said they were on a no-fly list for terror suspects, and French police questioned at least 90 people, detained nine, and expanded their sweep outside the capital.

    Hari Sreenivasan begins our coverage.


    Squads of police with helmets and shields followed armored vehicles into an area northeast of Paris by this afternoon. They shifted their search after two men resembling the suspects robbed this gas station in Villers-Cotterets, a little over 40 miles from the French capital.

    In short order, helicopters began to buzz the region. Security forces entered nearby woodland villages and carried out house-to-house searches, on reports the gunmen might have holed up there.

    In Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls sought to calm public fears.

  • MANUEL VALLS, Prime Minister, France (through interpreter):

    We want to tell the French people that we are very mobilized. We want to salute the fact that the French gathered and were united yesterday and today, and will be this weekend, without a doubt, and we want to tell our will to fight to defend our liberties, our democracy and our tolerance.


    The objects of the manhunt are brothers in their thirties. The younger, Cherif Kouachi, had been sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for trying to join a militant Islamist group fighting in Iraq.

    Less is known of the older brother, Said Kouachi, but the interior minister said both had been known to intelligence services before yesterday.

  • BERNARD CAZENEUVE, Interior Minister, France (through interpreter):

    As soon as we knew the suspects' identities, the potential safe havens were put under surveillance. Overnight, several searches were made at the supposed domicile of Said Kouachi and at members of the Kouachi brothers' family and several cities. Nine persons are currently in custody.


    A third suspect, 18-year old Mourad Hamyd, turned himself into police last night, after learning his name was linked to the attacks. Friends said he'd been in school at the time of the shootings.

    On this national day of mourning, the bells of Notre Dame tolled, and French President Francois Hollande led a moment of silence for the 12 people killed at Charlie Hebdo. The satirical weekly had a history of lampooning Islam and other religions in commentary and cartoons.

    Today, people laid flowers and lit candles at the publication's offices and decried the killings.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    It's a shame that we condemn humor and that we have gone so far to kill people for cartoons, for ideas. It's sad. It's a bit devastating that today in Paris we got to this point.


    All across the city, police presence was heavy this day, but tensions spiked with the fatal shooting of a policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris. It remained unclear if the incident had any connection to yesterday's killings.

    Elsewhere, in shows of solidarity, some European newspapers republished some of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons. And in protests around the world and online, people everywhere joined in declarations saying, "Je suis Charlie," or "I am Charlie."

    This evening in Paris, in a dramatic display, the Eiffel Tower went black in a further demonstration of national sorrow.

    I'm Hari Sreenivasan in New York for the PBS NewsHour.

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