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PARIS TERROR ATTACKS

TERRORISM

French police stage another 128 night raids

France stepped up its probe into the country's worst-ever terror in the early hours of Tuesday by carrying out over 100 raids on homes and properties across the country.

French police stage another 128 night raids
Police in Strasbourg stage a raid on a property. Photo: AFP

French police staged 128 raids in the early hours of Tuesday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

The raids follow similar action on Sunday night which saw police carry out 168 raids in towns and cities across the country.

During that operation authorities had made 23 arrests and seized 31 weapons including a rocket launcher.

 

The raids overnight on Monday took place in Reims, Toulouse and in Strasbourg as well as other cities, with the interior ministry due to release more details later in the day.

They were carried out as part of France's ongoing state of emergency, which has given the police greater powers to take action.

It is believed the raids were not solely linked to Islamic extremism, but also drug and arms trafficking.

 

Meanwhile the hunt for the Salah Abdeslam – the man considered by French police to be the eighth attacker,  goes on.

However on Tuesday morning PM Manuel Valls admitted that the French authorities don't know yet how many people may have been involved in Friday's attacks.

Speaking on France Inter radio Valls said “we still don't have a clear vision of the events, including the number of people involved”.

Authorities are also hunting for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is now widely considered to be the commander of the attacks in Paris.

 

 

 

TERRORISM

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.

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