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January 09, 2015

On January 8, 2015 at 1030 local time, the day after three gunmen attacked the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, two men fitting the profile of the still at-large brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi were spotted at a petrol station in Villers-Cotterets, about 80km (50 mi) north-east of Paris. The station manager said they were still heavily armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The two stole food and fuel while firing on the station, and then reportedly headed in the direction of Paris in a Renault Clio. A large-scale manhunt is underway in the rural and wooded areas surrounding Villers-Cotterets and Crepy-en-Valois, and the villages of Corcy and Longpont, was suspended overnight but will likely resume early January 9. One of the gunmen associated with the follow-on attack in Montrouge just south of Paris is also still at large, and was last armed with both a machine gun and pistol.

Analyst Comment: With at least three suspects still at large, and the two gunmen associated with the Charlie Hebdo attack still well armed and threatening bystanders in order to evade police, Pinkerton advises clients in Paris and its surrounding suburbs to remain indoors as much as possible, and continue to avoid all government, public transit, media and religious buildings. Mosques in particular should be avoided for the time being, as retaliatory attacks in the wake of the shooting have occurred, and may continue. While several vigils and demonstrations in support of the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo are planned for the near future, and are expected to largely be peaceful with significant security, Pinkerton advises clients to avoid any and all large public gatherings, as these provide prime targets for follow-on and copy-cat attacks. Clients should exercise telecommuting options over the next 48-72 hours if possible, as heightened security and checkpoints throughout the capital will make travel difficult. Expect delays of all packages and cargoes transiting the city, as these will also be subject to longer and more stringent security checks. Clients who use the Eurostar rail service between London and Paris should also expect delays over the next few days, as both France and the United Kingdom have increased security at the London and Paris terminals, as well as the tunnel entrance at Calais. 

Prepared by: Clint Richards, Japan


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