7 Muslims Detained Over Charlie Hebdo Attack
By DAN BILEFSKY
PARIS — The search continued Thursday for two brothers suspected of carrying out the deadly terrorist attack on the offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris a day earlier, as officials said they had arrested and questioned seven people overnight in connection with the assault.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls of France, in an interview on RTL radio on Thursday, said that the authorities’ main concern was preventing another attack. He issued a plea for witnesses to contact the police.
The two chief suspects in the attack on Wednesday, Said and Chérif Kouachi, 34 and 32, who are brothers, remained at large as a manhunt continued over a wide area of northern France. A third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, 18, turned himself in at a police station in Charleville-Mézières, about 145 miles northeast of Paris.
Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, confirmed that seven people had been arrested overnight, but offered no details on their ties, if any, to the Kouachi brothers.
The French capital, already on edge because of Wednesday’s attack, was further unnerved by reports Thursday morning of the shooting of a police officer and a street sweeper on the southern edge of Paris. There was no immediate evidence that the shooting was linked to the Charlie Hebdo assault.
Mr. Cazeneuve said that two people, including a police officer, had been shot in the attack, and BFM TV reported that the officer, a woman, had been killed. News reports said that she had been called to the scene of a traffic accident, where she came under fire.
Mr. Cazeneuve, who left an emergency government meeting to go to the scene of Thursday’s shooting, said that the police were searching for whomever was responsible and warned against drawing any premature conclusions.
Separately, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday that there had been an explosion near a kebab shop Thursday morning in the eastern town of Villefranche-sur-Saône, not far from a mosque. Citing unnamed officials, it said that no one had been hurt and that there were no known links between the explosion and the attack at Charlie Hebdo. The police were investigating, the news service said.
Mr. Valls declined to detail the state of the investigation of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. He said the priority was to hunt down and find the terrorists who had carried out the attack, and to prevent them from continuing to spread terror. He said that photographs of the suspects had been released to help with the search.
Mr. Valls said that the suspects had been known to the French authorities and had been tracked. “We are facing an unprecedented terrorist threat, both internally and externally,” he said, adding that, despite all the counterterrorism efforts underway, “there was not zero risk.”
President François Hollande declared a national day of mourning on Thursday, which was marked by a minute of silence at noon.