A police source said three suspects had been arrested so far. A justice source said at least two had been killed, including a woman who blew herself up with a suicide belt.

Police and justice sources said Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27,  thought to have pulled the strings from Syria, was strongly believed to be among a group of people holed up in an apartment in the northern suburb near the national soccer stadium, one of the sites attacked by suicide bombers last week.

Gunfire began at about 4.30 am (0330 GMT) and police special forces of the RAID unit were still involved in exchanges of fire three hours later, witnesses said. The source said the operations were still under way shortly before 8 am (0700 GMT) and police were still trying to 'neutralise' two more suspects.


"There are men from RAID shooting from the rooftops," Djihane, a neighbour, said on France Inter radio. "We've been told to lie on the floor and not go to the windows,"  he said. Three policemen and one other person were hurt during the operation. There was no immediate official confirmation.

The operations took place near the Stade de France soccer stadium where three suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts and killed a passerby on Friday.

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