Lotfi, a 50-year-old who was in the area, told Le Parisien: “I heard police officers talking to a woman with long blonde hair.
“I think she was the suicide bomber. They told her not to lower her arms, to keep her hands up in the air, and then there was a massive explosion.
“I think that’s when she detonated her bomb. It really was a very loud explosion.
“Lots of windows on the street were shattered, and then the firefight started and it was going on nonstop.”
Lofti, who would not offer his surname, also said he saw police dog Diesel blown to pieces by the woman’s bomb.
The police operation in Saint-Denis has ended after a six-hour siege, the French government announced.
Two people are dead, seven have been arrested after the police shootout targeting the so-called mastermind behind the terror attacks in Paris on Friday that killed at least 129 people.
A father in the Paris building raided by police said he was told to evacuate his apartment because it was about to blow up.
The witness to the raid was asleep in the suburb of Saint-Denis when he woke to the sounds of cries and gunshots.
“I was afraid,” he said. “My son heard and he was crying a lot. I tried to calm him down but he was crying and then he did calm down.
“The police arrived and they said, ‘Get out quick! This building is going to blow up’.”
“I said, ‘What is going on? What are we doing? I need to get things from there. I have things in there: nappies for my son, bank cards’.
“I threw myself on the floor and lay under the bed. I was scared and I waited, that is normal when you hear everyone firing, firing, firing.
“I thought if I left my house, they will kill me. While I was waiting the building was trembling underneath me.
"When I looked up, I saw that the third floor apartment had exploded, but I did not leave. I was scared. You do not know what to do.
“I was on the first floor but I did not see the police.
"I kept on thinking, ‘Where are the police?’, then I realised it was the police firing in the stairwell, not the terrorists, so they could take the terrorists and hit them.
"I was under the bed.”
Residents of the Paris suburb, some of whom were evacuated in their underwear, said they had been caught in a terrifying exchange of fire.
Hayat, 26, had been leaving a friend’s apartment where she had spent the night when the shots erupted. “I heard gunfire,” she said.
“I could have been hit by a bullet. I never thought terrorists could have hid here.”
Residents said the first explosion shook the neighbourhood shortly after 4 a.m.
“We guessed it was linked to Friday night,” said Yves Steux, barman at L’Escargot restaurant 250 metres (yards) from the assault.
”My wife panicked and was scared and told me not to leave, but I ignored her. Life goes on.”
Baptiste Marie, an independent journalist who lives in the neighbourhood, said a second large explosion was followed by “two more explosions. There was an hour of gunfire.”