Residents of the suburb of Saint-Denis, north of Paris, were awakened by an exchange of gunfire at around 4:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) local time.
“I was awakened by explosions that lasted about 15-20 minutes,” one resident told Le Monde. “From our window, we could see lights [that looked] like gunfire… Then helicopters landed on the roofs.”
At least 15 people, including women and children, have been evacuated from the building in the area of anti-terrorist operation, the mayor office of Saint-Denis told Le Figaro.
According to police spokesman Jean-Alphonse Richard, officers identified an apartment being used as a base by the alleged terrorists in Saint-Denis in the hunt for a key suspect in last Friday’s murderous Paris attacks and his accomplices.
The primary target of the raid was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged sponsor and mastermind of Friday’s massacre in Paris, police said. Salah Abdeslam, another suspect in the attacks, was also reportedly targeted in the raid.