AFTER two days of hunts and sieges, it all came to an abrupt and violent end in the space of just five minutes as police stormed the print works concealing the brothers suspected of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and a Jewish grocery shop where a fellow extremist was holding hostages.
Gunmen Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, and their alleged associate Amedy Coulibaly all died during the operations along with an unknown number of civilians.
Loud explosions were seen at the Hyper Cacher in Paris as police stormed the shop, reportedly using stun grenades.
The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, tweeted: "The kosher supermarket has been stormed. The terrorist is dead. The hostages are alive."
Moment of explosion at Dammartin en Goele Moment of explosion at Dammartin en Goele
Conflicting reports claim that as many as four hostages died in the conclusion of the siege but no casualties have been confirmed.
Minutes before, police had launched their assault on a printing plant north of Paris in Dammartin-en-Goele, where the Kouachi brothers were hiding with a hostage.
They had gone on the run after allegedly shooting 12 people dead at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo two days ago and threatened to kill a hostage if police attempted to enter the building.
Security forces had surrounded it for most of the day and after a series of explosions at around 5pm (4pm GMT), Swat teams could be seen on the roof of the building as a helicopter landed nearby.
Audrey Taupenas, a spokesperson for the town near the Charles de Gaulle airport, said the brothers had died in the clash. Their hostage reportedly escaped unharmed.
A security officer directs released hostages after they stormed a kosher market to end a hostage situation A security officer directs released hostages after they stormed a kosher market to end a hostage situation Their link to 32-year-old Coulibaly, who is suspected of shooting a female police officer dead before taking hostages at the Kosher grocery shop, was unclear.
Police reportedly hacked into the shop's CCTV system to monitor his actions during the siege, watching him react as he saw his name spread across the media.
An eyewitness to the start of the crisis told Europe 1 radio: "People were buying things when a man came in with a rifle and started shooting in all directions. I ran out. The shooting continued for several seconds."
Earlier Radio Europe 1 claimed a daughter had received a call from her mother, telling her: "I am in the shop, I love you."
Coulibaly's girlfriend Hayat Boumedienne, 26, has also be named by police as a person of interest. It is believed that Ms Boumedienne attended a suspected jihadist training camp in Cantal, a mountainous area of central France.
Additional reporting by agencies