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How France's three day terror nightmare unfolded

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Three days of terror attacks in and around Paris have ended with 17 innocent lives lost and three terrorists killed.

Had it not been for the skill of the French security forces in ending two sieges yesterday - one in a print works and the other in a kosher grocery - that death toll could have been far higher.

From the attack on Charlie Hebdo to the final shootout yesterday, here's how France's dark week unfolded:

WEDNESDAY

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11.30am Shots are fired at Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris as the magazine’s editor and senior cartoonists are killed.

11.35am The gunmen, Chérif Kouachi and his brother Saïd, flee the scene in a car. They drive north and exchange fire with a police vehicle. One officer, Ahmed Merabet, is wounded in the shootout; a Kouachi brother then shoots him in the head.

Midday The gunmen crash their car and hijack another vehicle. They reportedly tell the driver: “If the media ask you anything, tell them it’s al-Qaeda in Yemen.” They drive off in a grey Clio.

10pm Police raid a flat in Reims, east of Paris.

THURSDAY

1.40am The youngest suspect, 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, is said to have handed himself in after seeing his name linked to the massacre. Soon afterwards the French police release photographs of the two Kouachi brothers.

7am In Paris, trainee policewoman Clarissa Jean-Phillipe, 25, is shot dead in the southern suburb of Montrouge.

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10.30am The Kouachi brothers are spotted, heavily armed, driving north through Picardy. The pair rob a petrol station north-east of Paris. They drive off with assault rifles and rocket launchers visible in the back of their getaway car.

2pm Police continue to search the countryside of northern France.

8pm Teams of heavily armed officers scour the dense woodland in the 13,000 hectare Foret de Retz, 50 miles outside Paris.

FRIDAY

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8am The Kouachi brothers hijack a grey Peugeot 206 in the village of Montagny-Sainte-Félicité.

8.20am Reports that shots have been fired in a car chase on the motorways, north-east of Paris.

9am The brothers drive to Dammartin-en-Goële, around half an hour north-east of Paris. They take refuge in a printing works. A massive police operation gets underway. The brothers have a hostage inside.

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1.30pm An armed man is reported to have taken a hostage in a Jewish grocery store at Porte de Vincennes in Paris. Police name the grocery store hostage-taker as 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly, who they believe was also responsible for the shooting of the Paris policewoman. They also say they are hunting a 26-year-old woman called Hayat Boumeddiene.

3.55pm Gunshots and explosions are heard at the siege in Dammartin-en-Goele. Balaclava-clad officers are seen moving towards the building - the eight hour siege is ended.

4.11pm Six loud and very quick explosions are heard at the kosher supermarket in Paris. Four hostages are confirmed dead as is Coulibaly, fortunately many others escape alive.

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More: France terror attacks - What we know

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