Three deaths have been reported after French police raided an apartment during an operation to capture those responsible for the Paris attacks on 13 November. Sounds of grenades and heavy gunfire have been reported as initial reports confirm that at least one terrorist was killed by a sniper.

The siege began at 4.10am in Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris. A female suspect is believed to have killed herself with a suicide belt, while at least three police officers are said to have been injured during the shoot out.

Police sources said that Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abbaoud, the Paris attacks mastermind, was the target of the operation in Saint-Denis. He was initially believed to be in Syria, in Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa.

French special police forces in Saint-Denis, France
French special police forces secure the area as shots are exchanged in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Paris attacks siege
French police evacuate residents in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
French soldiers secure area in Saint-Denis
French soldiers secure the area after shots were exchanged in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Soldiers in Saint-Denis
Shooting broke out in northern Paris early November 18, 2015 during a dawn raid by police hunting those behind the Paris attacks.KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
French police in Saint-Denis
French policemen patrol in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment, hunting those behind the attacks that claimed 129 lives in the French capital.KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers in Saint-Denis
French army soldiers stand in position in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city center, on November 18, 2015, as French Police special forces raid an appartment.KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Saint-Denis shoot out
Journalists gather at the scene near police vans in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
Paris siege after attacks
A French soldier checks the identity papers of a man in the area where shots were exchanged in Saint-Denis, France, near Paris, November 18, 2015 during an operation to catch fugitives from Friday night's deadly attacks in the French capital.REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen