Paris attacks: At least 2 dead in police anti-terror raid in city, attack suspects holed up in apartment

French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015.
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015.
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
Police operation in Saint Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015.
Police operation in Saint Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: AFP
French police evacuate residents in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015.
French police evacuate residents in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
A person looks through a window after gun shots were heard during a police raid in Saint Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015.
A person looks through a window after gun shots were heard during a police raid in Saint Denis, near Paris on Nov 18, 2015. PHOTO: EPA
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, on Nov 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, on Nov 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP/REUTERS) - At least two people were killed when shooting broke out in a northern suburb of Paris during an anti-terrorist police operation, sources said on Wednesday (Nov 18), five days after the worst attacks in French history killed 129 people in the capital.

A statement released by the Paris prosecutor's office said that five people have been arrested. One woman died after she detonated an explosives vest.

The five arrested were three men who were holed up inside the apartment, while a man and woman were arrested near the location of the raid, said the statement.

Police sources added that a second suspect had been killed in the raid.

Reports citing residents said that at least seven explosions were heard in the area, home to the Stade de France which was attacked by gunmen and suicide bombers on Friday. Around 50 soldiers were also deployed to the suburb, and posted along the main high street near an apartment where the shootout was underway.

The shots began at about 4.30am (0330 GMT)  as special police forces launched an operation to catch one of the suspects from Friday night's shooting in the French capital, a police source told Reuters.

The suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was the target of the raid, a police source said.

It is believed that the 28-year-old member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was one of a group of people thought to be inside the apartment in Saint Denis that police swooped on.

There was an exchange of gunfire during the operation in Saint-Denis, with residents told to "lie on the floor and not go to the windows."

Firemen told AFP they they joined the operation against "an armed group holed up in an apartment", without giving any further details.

Another source said a special armed response unit took part in the raid.

TV stations BFMTV said some police officers had been wounded during the operation. Firemen said one person was lightly injured.

BFMTV and iTele both showed amateur video of the shootings and cited witnesses in the area saying they had heard sporadic gunfire since around 4.30am local time.

At least 129 people died in Friday's attacks in Paris, which have been claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Seven militants died in the assault. Two are known to be on the run.